Portsmouth 1 Aston Villa 1

Lomana LuaLua earned Portsmouth their first paint of the season with a stunning solo strike against ten-man Aston Villa.

LuaLua lit up Fratton Park with a superb 20-yard curler three minutes before half-time to cancel out Richard Hughes' embarrassing home goal.

LuaLua should have got off the mark as early as the eighth minute after being picked out by the first of a catalogue of brilliantly executed free-kicks from Laurent Robert.

Robert picked out his former Newcastle team mate with a pinpoint right-wing cross but LuaLua shot straight at Thomas Sorensen from only four yards.

The match sparked into life three minutes later when Villa were reduced to ten men after seeing Nolberto Solano sent off for elbowing Hughes in the face.

Hughes tugged on Solano's shirt and the Peruvian hit out in frustration, leaving referee Graham Poll with no option but to produce a red card.

Villa's agony turned to joy a matter of seconds later when, from the resulting free-kick, Hughes headed into his own net.

Barry caught the Pompey defence sleeping with a quickly taken kick and Hughes could only nod the ball past the stranded Sander Westerveld under pressure from Villa striker Kevin Phillips.

Robert threatened to draw Portsmouth level five minutes later, capping a marauding 40-yard run with a long-range shot which Sorensen did well to hold.

LuaLua came close again ten minutes later after Robert had once more caused havoc for the Villa defence.

Robert combined expertly with Pompey's Colombian midfielder John Viafara who released LuaLua, only for the Congo international to volley into the sidenetting.

LuaLua did finally get his reward for a breathtaking first-half display with the equaliser just as Pompey boss Alain Perrin was preparing to give his half-time team talk with his side trailing.

LuaLua picked up the ball 25 yards from goal before turning past Villa substitute Ulises De la Cruz and driving an unstoppable right-footed shot into Sorensen's top left-hand corner.

Peter Whittingham could have restored Villa's lead only two minutes later when he put a thunderous 30-yard free-kick against the Pompey crossbar.

Robert also threatened to strike again for Pompey before the break when he fired narrowly wide from six yards from a LuaLua cross.

Westervel was given a let-off 3 minutes after the re-start when he completely missed Barry's corner only to see Villa captain Olof Mellberg head wide.

LuaLua picked up one of the game's four yellow cards six minutes later for a late challenge on Barry, blotting an otherwise perfect night for the ex-Newcastle player.

Pompey's night should have got better three minutes later when Gary O'Neil wasted the home side's best chance to steal all three points.

Viafara put over the perfect left-wing cross, but O'Neil smashed harmlessly over when it looked easier to score.

Only seconds earlier Mellberg wasted another glorious opening when he headed against the backside of team-mate Juan Pablo Angel after Westerveld had flapped at another Barry corner.

LuaLua threatened to steal the victory in the dying seconds when he fired narrowly over from 35 yards, but in the end the points were shared.