A contentious late penalty from Louis Saha saw Fulham grab a point at Fratton Park and keep Portsmouth deep in relegation trouble,

Graham Rix’s outfit, leading through Lee Bradbury’s tenth minute strike, looked on course for a valuable victory when Southampton loanee Luis Boa Morte was sent crashing to earth by a combination of Jamie Vincent and Andy Petterson. Saha steered his penalty beyond goalkeeper Petterson to secure a deserved point for the champions, who had utterly dominated the second half.

The south coast side had started strongly and could have gone in front inside fourth minutes when Bradbury tested Maik Taylor’s reflexes from just inside the area. Pompey hit the front on ten minutes when Bradbury scored his third goal in three appearances at Fratton Park after the forward followed up to finish once Lee Mills had seen his shot palmed away by Taylor. That goal seemed to spark Fulham into life and they began to open up the Portsmouth defence with a succession of precise passes.

Lee Clark linked up with left back Rufus Brevett and steered a lovely cross into the feet of Boa Morte, but the Portuguese forward could only shoot straight at Petterson. Davis tried his luck from distance – after his sensational long-range strike clinched the title against Sheffield Wednesday on Bank Holiday Monday – but this particular effort whizzed wide of goal. Fulham continued to hold the ascendancy but Rob Wolleaston headed tamely at Taylor from six yards and Brevett was required to clear off the line from Bradbury.

Tigana turned to Karl-Heinz Rielde and the veteran German forward played a pivotal part in the move that led to the disputed penalty. Riedle turned the ball deftly into the path of Boa Morte, who was caught by both full back Vincent and goalkeeper Petterson, as they desperately tried to prevent the striker from scoring an equaliser. Carl Tiler was booked for dissent as Pompey surrounded the referee Phil Dowd but after the furore died down Saha dispatched the penalty to score his 30th goal of the season.

Fulham might even have snatched a late winner when Welsh centre back Andy Melville forced the ball towards the goal from a corner but Petterson blocked brilliantly on the line as Pompey clung on for what might yet prove a very valuable point.

PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): Petterson; Vincent, Primus, Hiley, Tiler; Waterman, O’Neil, Sharpe; Wolleaston (Quashie 63); Mills (Vine 81), Bradbury. Subs (not used): Harper, Tardif, White.

BOOKED: Waterman, Tiler, O’Neil.

GOAL: Bradbury (10).

FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; Finnan, Brevett, Melville, Goma (Symons 45); Davis, J. Collins, Goldbaek (Riedle 67), Clark; Saha, Boa Morte (Betsy 82). Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Stolcers.

BOOKED: Davis, Brevett, Boa Morte.

GOAL: Saha (pen 79).

REFEREE: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).