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Football: RORY GLORY ENDS AGONY; Portsmouth 1 Alaves 1.

Byline: Jenny LEA

RORY ALLEN scored his first goal for Pompey to end two years of injury misery and make his claim for a place in Harry Redknapp's new-look side.

Unlucky Allen, signed three years ago by Alan Hall from Spurs for pounds 1 million, has spent the last two seasons sidelined with knee damage.

But, now fit again, he was restored to the side by Redknapp for the visit of the Spanish giants Alaves and duly responded with a superb goal. Two of Redknapp's eight new signings, Matt Taylor and Richard Hughes, combined on the left and Allen rose at the far post to score with a fine header.

Allen had feared that the Redknapp revolution, which has seen 14 players leave since March, might not include him.

But he lasted 77 minutes before being replaced by Steve Lovell.

Alaves equalised after 32 minutes with a left foot shot from Pablo Gomez and had another disallowed four minutes later when Alonso was judged offside.

But Pompey fans in a small crowd were disappointed not to see Paul Merson.

The veteran Aston Villa star is expected to move for pounds 1 million next week but he chose to miss Portsmouth's last major friendly.

Another of Redknapp's newcomers, Carl Robinson from Wolves, lasted just eight minutes before being taken off with two dislocated fingers. But Robinson bravely returned to the action in the second half to replace trialist David Linares.

Redknapp also gave runs to two other trialists, Frenchman Frederick Brando and Croatian Marian Keruacevic, as he attempted to find the right blend for the league opener at home to Nottingham Forest next week.

PORTSMOUTH: Kawaguchi, Harper (Primus 59mins), Taylor, Howe, Foxe (Keruacevic 45), De Zeeuw, Robinson (Hughes 8), Brando (Barrett 76), Pericard, Allen (Lovell 77), Linares (Robinson 55).
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 4, 2002
Words:298
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