BECAUSE RATS and sinking Crewes are mostly seen heading in opposite directions, it's not often they meet the same fate.

But as the rollicking, roistering, sea saga that is Steve Claridge's managerial reign went into a yo-ho-hoing second verse, both Crewe and rat were stomped on.

Crewe's stomping was metaphorical, the rat which scuttled on to the Fratton Park pitch and held up play wasn't so lucky.

Pompey's despatching of Crewe was not one to be reported to the RSPCA, but in its own way was just as efficient.

A goal down, Pompey showed the resolve, patience and flair to claw their way back before claiming their first back-to-back wins for seven months.

Having kept the receipt from Saturday's win over Sheffield Wednesday, Pompey produced it for a full refund from the same two goalscorers.

Thomas Thogersen popped up with the first, and Claridge's fairy tale continued with the winner from the penalty spot.

In fact, it was Claridge's night before the kick-off, although he wouldn't have known it.

Further proof that the football gods are looking down kindly on one of their raggedy children came when Kevin Harper pulled up with a recurrence of his calf injury in the pre-match warm-up.

Claridge was forced to recall Mike Panopoulos from his exile and got a diamond of a performance from the Aussie.

It looked like being a night of bigger frustration when Crewe took the lead on 59 minutes when Mark Rivers was brought down by Scott Hiley and Steve Smith slammed the penalty into the roof of the net.

Pompey got their next break when Paul Tait's was handed a second yellow card on the hour was invited to have first use of the shower gel.And the blue tide were not be denied.

Thogersen again revelled in the freedom to collect a knock-down, shift right and create an angle to bury a shot in the corner.

And then when Justin Edinburgh surged into the box, he was brought down by Jack, allowing Claridge to score from the spot.

Pompey: Hoult, Primus, Edinburgh, Derry, Moore (Waterman 67), Panopoulos, Claridge, Bradbury (Nightingale 90), Quashie, Thogersen, Hiley. Unused subs: Flahavan, Miglioranzi, J McNab.

Crewe: Kearton, Wright, S Smith, Lunt, Walton, Tait, Rivers, Jack, Sorvel, Lumsdon (Sodje, 70), Maybury. Unused subs: Little, P Smith, Collins, Bankole (g/k).



DISMISSAL - Tait (Crewe) two cautions. BOOKINGS - Pompey: Derry, Claridge (dissent), Crewe: Wright (dissent), Walton (foul).,

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