Pompey 3 Rotherham 2

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Dion Donohue and Matty Kennedy. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Division one, April 27, 2003

Paul Merson lifted the Football League division one championship trophy in front of ecstatic Pompey fans as Svetoslav Todorov’s brace helped the Blues claim the title in thrilling style.

In yet another memorable Fratton Park ding-dong in an extraordinary season, the Blues knew victory would be enough to get them across the finishing line after long-term title rivals Leicester City could manage only a 1-1 draw with Norwich City.

Merson got the ball rolling in the 10th minute when he slammed home a penalty - his 12th goal of the season - after Todorov was bundled over in the penalty area.

But anyone expecting a procession was then handed a rude awakening when Millers’ Guy Branston slotted past Shaka Hislop after some sloppy Pompey marking.

Branston was at fault soon afterwards as he allowed Vincent Pericard to escape his marker and put in an inviting cross for Todorov to finish from close range.

but Rotherham hit back again as defender Chris Swailes headed home unchallenged from a corner as Pompey’s defence went missing once more.

Harry Redknapp’s side, however, knew they had plenty of goals in them all season and responded once again before the interval.

French striker Pericard acted as provider to nod down for Bulgarian Todorov to produce a cool finish for the fifth goal of a pulsating half.

While the second period was goalless, Pompey fans were simply counting down the minutes to secure the victory and see their team presented with the trophy they richly deserved for such a superb season.

POMPEY: Shaka Hislop, Linvoy Primus, Hayden Foxe, Gianluca Festa, Steve Stone, Kevin Harper (Arjan De Zeeuw, 46) Tim Sherwood, Paul Merson, Nigel Quashie, Vincent Pericard (Aiyegbeni Yakubu, 68), Svetoslav Todorov. Unused subs: Yoshi Kawaguchi, Gary O’Neill, Lassina Diabate.

ROTHERHAM: Ian Gray, Guy Branston, Chris Swailes, Paul Hurst, Shaun Barker, Nick Daws, Martin McIntosh, Chris Sedgwick (Andy Monkhouse, 80), Stewart Talbot (Paul Warne, 63), Alan Lee, Richie Barker. Unused subs: Mike Pollitt, Danny Hudson, Mark Robins.