Ward rescues Pompey
Joel Ward epitomised the fighting spirit at Portsmouth by putting his body on the line to rescue a 1-1 for Pompey in their south coast derby clash with Southampton.
Ward beat Guly Do Prado to George Thorne's looping header to nod past Kelvin Davis with six minutes remaining to cancel out Rickie Lambert's opener for Saints and secure a the beleaguered Fratton Park outfit a point.
With the impending threat of a possible points deduction hanging over Portsmouth's head as former chairman Vladimir Antonov is investigated by financial officials in Lithuania, the Pompey crowd needed a boost like that given to them by Ward against their bitter rivals.
In front of a lively crowd, evidently relishing the relatively rare occurence of this fixture, neither side could really create any chances of major significance early on. Lambert nodded Dean Hammond's centre harmlessly over after 14 minutes for the visitors, while at the other end Ward's attempt was comfortably saved by Davis eight minutes later.
Stephen Henderson in the Pompey goal was not too bothered by Lambert's second attempt midway through the first period, and David Norris was denied by Davis as half-chances were as much as the baying crowd were allowed in the first 45 minutes.
After the two teams went into the interval goalless, Southampton turned on the pressure in the opening minutes of the second period. Lambert saw his effort from the edge of the penalty area saved by Henderson, while the Portsmouth keeper also had to be alert to prevent Morgan Schneiderlin's attempt sneaking in.
The waves of Saints attacks kept coming and just after the hour their ascendancy finally told on the scoreboard. Daniel Fox delivered the cross and Lambert stole in away from his marker to head beyond Henderson from close range.
Frazer Richardson saw his shot blocked by Joe Mattock, Hammond's 30-yard daisy-cutter was not powerful enough to cause Henderson any concern and Do Prado's miscued volley bobbled wide of the right-hand post as Pompey found it hard to create anything of note at the other end.
Henderson did well to get out to deny Do Prado when he was played in by Adam Lallana, while Schneiderlin crashed over when well placed, and it seemed only a matter of time before the Saints grabbed their second.
However, out of nowhere, Portsmouth equalised with six minutes remaining. Norris looped in a corner from the right, Thorne headed the ball back across goal and Ward showed the determination to beat Do Prado to the aerial ball and nod beyond Davis to extend Pompey's unbeaten run to four matches.
Related Portsmouth News