Doncaster 3 Portsmouth 4: Amazing late show from Pompey gives them hope but sends hosts down to League One
17:02 GMT, 14 April 2012
17:04 GMT, 14 April 2012
Portsmouth somehow kept their Championship survival hopes alive with two goals in the final moments on a dramatic afternoon at the Keepmoat Stadium to relegate 10-man Doncaster.
Substitute Marco Futacs struck an injury time winner just seconds after Dave Kitson had appeared to handball over the line to draw his side level.
It was harsh on Rovers who had been in control after Habib Beye and Fabien Robert netted in the opening five minutes but a chaotic game turned on the questionable dismissal of Beye on the hour.
Delight: Portsmouth players celebrate after a dramatic late Marko Futacs winner
Kitson fell theatrically under
pressure from the veteran Senegalese to give away a penalty that Greg
Halford netted before converting a second spot-kick moments later drew
his side level.
The drama continued though as James
Coppinger immediately fired Doncaster ahead, which would have kept
Rovers up and relegated Pompey, until a barely believable finish that
left the home fans hooting their disapproval at the end.
By contrast the few hundred
travelling Pompey fans remained singing after the whistle having avoided
what would have been the latest sorry chapter in their recent history.
Doncaster: Woods, O'Connor, Friend, Lockwood, Beye, Oster (Hird 59), Barnes, Gillett, Coppinger, Brown (Dumbuya 73), Robert (Hayter 46).
Subs not used: Sullivan, Bennett.
Portsmouth: Ashdown, Ward, Rocha, Pearce, Halford, Rekik (Futaks 76), Allan, Norris, Varney (Harris 46), Etuhu (Kitson 26), Maguire.
Subs not used: Mokoena, Scapuzzi.
Boss Michael Appleton vowed that his
side would not give up until relegation was assured, which had looked
likely following a disastrous opening five minutes.
Only three minutes had passed when
Beye netted the opener, rising highest to meet a free-kick and loop his
header over goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.
A stunned Pompey were 2-0 down
moments later when Robert stabbed home from close range after John
Oster's initial effort had been blocked by Ashdown.
The travelling support behind the
goal responded with ironic celebrations although their good humour was
almost tested again on seven minutes when Coppinger's dipping 25-yard
volley smacked against the crossbar.
Portsmouth's response to the early
onslaught was underwhelming as a hopeful 20-yard David Norris shot was
the best they could muster before Appleton decided on a change of
formation after 28 minutes.
He brought on striker Kitson for
winger Dickson Etuhu and it almost paid immediate dividends as Halford
saw his firm header cleared off the line moments later.
A Beye header then tested Ashdown
again at the other end, the goalkeeper this time punching for a corner,
before Robert fizzed a pass across goal that no one was in a position to
Despite Pompey's predicament their
few hundred travelling fans remained in full voice and they cheered
louder still when news filtered through that Bristol City had taken the
lead at Birmingham, to confirm they would go down with anything but a
With that threat looming likely
Portsmouth finally showed signs of life soon after half-time with Scott
Allen firing against the crossbar from range before Luke Varney drew a
low save from an acute angle.
The visitors were then given a
hotly-contested penalty on 57 minutes when Kitson fell theatrically
under pressure from Beye, who was then also given his marching orders
for denying a scoring opportunity.
The veteran Senegalese protested the decision but once he left the pitch Halford tucked in the spot-kick.
The home fans clearly felt aggrieved
at the decision and their mood was hardly helped when the referee
awarded a second penalty against James O'Connor moments later. Again
Halford scored the spot-kick, despite Gary Woods getting a hand on the
Portsmouth may have been lucky to be
level but it lasted just four minutes as Coppinger netted a fine solo
goal. After being released down the right he cut inside and fired a low
shot that took a deflection as it went through the legs of a defender to
ensure Ashdown was wrong-footed.
Doncaster then set about holding onto
their advantage, which would have kept their slim survival hopes alive,
but with time ticking down they conceded a third dubious goal when
Kitson appeared to handball over the line.
It got better for Pompey in injury
time when Futacs popped up in the area and slid in a winner in to send
Doncaster down after four years in the Championship.