1. ITV Report

Pompey fight on in relegation battle

Portsmouth collected a vital 2-1 triumph over Crystal Palace Photo: PA

Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton believes the npower Championship relegation scrap is "Bristol City's to lose" as his side collected a vital 2-1 triumph over Crystal Palace at Fratton Park.

With Bristol City being held 1-1 by West Ham, Pompey are now five points behind the Robins with two games remaining for both sides.

Scott Allan fired Pompey ahead after 32 minutes when his effort from 25 yards out took a wicked deflection off Nathaniel Clyne and wrong-footed Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

Greg Halford doubled the home side's advantage after 55 minutes, when his far-post header from Allan's corner went into the net off Palace's Dean Moxey.

The visitors won a penalty after 71 minutes, when Pompey midfielder Luke Varney gave the ball to Wilfred Zaha on the left of the box, and clumsily felled him as he tried to retrieve it. Substitute Darren Ambrose stepped up and blasted the spot-kick straight down the middle.

Portsmouth collected a vital 2-1 triumph over Crystal Palace Credit: PA

The strike proved academic, though, as Pompey's Championship dream is still alive.

They must win at home to Derby on Saturday and hope City fail to beat Barnsley at Ashton Gate.

But Appleton says his side go into the penultimate weekend of the season with no pressure on their shoulders.

"All the pressure is on Bristol City as far as we're concerned," Appleton said.

"There's no pressure on us. It's for them to throw away rather than us to achieve it.

"We knew if we'd won the game and they'd beaten West Ham, we would have been down anyway. We can't control their results. We can just control our results.

"We'll try and win again on Saturday and we'll give it everything we have got because we've got pride and we've got dignity. If the worst-case scenario does happen, hopefully we can do it with a little bit about us."

Appleton has challenged his Pompey charges to take their relegation scrap to the final day.

"I would love it to go to the last game of the season because I think that would be a massive achievement for everyone associated with the football club - the players and staff," he said.

"When it gets to that situation, if it gets to that situation, anything can happen. We've seen dramas up and down the country in the last 10 or 20 years. You just never know."

Crystal Palace boss Dougie Freedman felt his team wasted opportunities to claim a share of the spoils on the south coast.

"We didn't take our chances. I thought our performance was fantastic pretty much from start to finish. I cannot criticise the players' work rate," he said.

"It was a night where we played some fantastic football; our attacking display was great. We just couldn't quite get the goals I thought we deserved. It was a difficult result to take after looking at our performance."

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