Blackburn digging relegation hole

Blackburn Rovers plunged further into the relegation mire as Paul Ince's side lost, 3-2, to Portsmouth on Sunday. Rovers had drawn level through Matt Derbyshire and Tugay after goals from Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe had put the hosts 2-0 ahead at Fratton Park. But Sean Davis claimed his first goal since March, 2006 with 11 minutes remaining to leave Blackburn second bottom of the table after a woeful run of nine league matches without a win.

After the frustration of AC Milan's late fightback from two goals down to earn a UEFA Cup draw at Fratton Park on Thursday, Portsmouth desperately needed a morale-boosting victory. Tony Adams' side had a chance to go ahead in the fourth minute when Glen Johnson, fed by Crouch, chipped a lovely ball into the box for Glen Little but the winger directed a poor left-footed shot straight at Paul Robinson. That sparked Blackburn into life and four minutes later it was Pompey's turn to have a narrow escape when Crouch almost scored an own-goal, glancing a Brett Emerton corner across his own goalmouth with the ball appearing to brush the far post before going out.

Rovers left-back Stephen Warnock sliced over from Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross soon after, then Roque Santa Cruz drove wide after good work from South African forward Benni McCarthy. Just before half-time Portsmouth striker Crouch headed over at the far post from Armand Traore's fine cross. But Crouch made amends four minutes into the second half. Johnson sent over a cross from the right and Crouch's powerful header flashed in for his eighth goal of the season.

Adams' men increased their lead four minutes when Defoe worked space on the edge of the area to bury a fine strike past Paul Robinson. But Ince sent on Derbyshire for McCarthy and the substitute pulled one back in the 62th minute, only 30 seconds after coming on, with a header from Pedersen's cross. Suddenly, Portsmouth looked nervous and it was no surprise when Tugay rifled home an equaliser from 25 yards, beating goalkeeper David James low inside his right post.

To their credit, Portsmouth managed to steady themselves and Johnson almost caught out Robinson with a long-range lob that landed on the roof of the net. Derbyshire had another Blackburn goal disallowed when referee Mark Halsey ruled James had been fouled. But Sean Davis, on as a substitute two minutes earlier, gave Portsmouth boss Adams his first home win when he slotted home after Robinson had parried Papa Bouba Diop's shot in the 79th minute.