Winless in the last 8 games, the Cowley’s and co arrived at Fratton Park full of hope and confidence for their clash against league leaders Sunderland, in what seems to be a bit of a recent rivalry, despite the two teams bragging one of the largest distances between one another in the whole of the EFL.
The weather conditions were less than ideal, but both teams cracked on regardless. Marcus Harness opened the scoring on his 100th appearance for the club, by striking a shot towards goal, which was ultimately deflected into the bottom corner.
Lee Brown soon doubled the lead when Marquis laid a neat ball off to the skipper inside the box. The easiest of shots for the Pompey captain to put it past Hoffmann, albeit on his weak foot.
The third came right before half time, and it was definitely one from the training ground routines. Ronan Curtis delivered a low in-swinging free-kick from the left side, into the perfect dead-space at the front post, where Marquis appeared after losing his man to tap it past the keeper. The half-time whistle was gently accompanied by the 2,000 travelling fans campaigning for the referee to “Call it off, Call it off, Call it off” – the same travelling fans may I add, who 20 minutes prior, were in full united voice bragging “We are top of the league”.
The half-time show at Fratton Park was headlined by the ground staff labouring away the excess amount of water from the deep end of the pitch. The spectators were made to be sure that the weather conditions were serious when a large, and rather slow, 2 wheeled-machine was broken out of the storage containers, and presumably tasked with sucking litres of water out of the grass and off the pitch via a hosepipe. This mission was smoothly accompanied by a serenade of “What the f****** hell is that” from the away fans.
After several rumoured shouts from away players and coaching staff to call the game off because of the weather, Pompey decided to answer those calls with another goal. Claiming his second goal of the game, John Marquis tapped in a rebound after his original shot was parried away by the Sunderland keeper. Last year we learnt that Tom Naylor was a ‘winter player’, maybe this year we’ve learnt that John Marquis is a ‘wet weather player’?
All-in-all, a convincing victory for the home side, and potentially a turning point in their promotion-hopeful season.