Portsmouth 1-1 Southampton

Joel Ward's brave late header earned Portsmouth a point from an uninspiring south coast derby against Southampton.

Pompey had the only two decent chances of a drab first half, but both David Norris and Greg Halford shot wide.

The visitors went ahead when Rickie Lambert headed in his 17th goal this season from Daniel Fox's free-kick.

Guly do Prado twice almost added to Saints' lead with low strikes, but Ward headed in from close range after good work by George Thorne to rescue a draw.

Pompey boy Ward delight at derby finish

Pompey were good value for their point, but having slipped behind on 62 minutes they seemed unlikely to be able to prevent their bitter rivals restoring their three-point lead at the top of the Championship table.

A tedious first half with plenty of endeavour and crunching challenges offered little in the way of quality, barring the odd flash of class from Southampton's Adam Lallana.

A low bobbling strike from Norris and Halford's 20-yard free-kick were as good as it got in terms of goalmouth incident in the opening 45 minutes.

But things improved after the interval and Lambert looked the likely match-winner when he glanced in Fox's vicious, inviting free-kick.

Saints' Rickie Lambert 'gutted' by Pompey late-show

Do Prado then spurned two good chances to wrap up the win, shooting wide with the first effort and seeing his second strike well blocked by on-rushing home goalkeeper Stephen Henderson.

It seemed inevitable that Saints would double their advantage, but it was Pompey who scored the second and final goal of the game when Ward jumped highest to head home Thorne's knock-back.

Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton said: "Joel can probably appreciate the importance of that goal more than the rest of the players. You could tell that with his celebration.

"Growing up as a Portsmouth lad and fan, he has probably dreamt about doing that for a while.

"He has popped up with a couple of goals recently, which is fantastic for him. He looks like he has a new lease of life about him."

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins said: "There are 10 or 15 teams with aspirations of getting into the Premier League. I just wanted to be in with a shout and be in the top 10. We would have been happy with that.

"We've led that race for over three months now. That shows we have a consistency about our play and we have good players.

"We play the right way and score a lot of goals. Our desire is to pick up more clean sheets and results away from home now."

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