Portsmouth came into their League 1 match-up against Sunderland on the back of 7 wins on the bounce. Kenny Jackett’s side played The Black Cats 5 times last season, recording 2 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss. The latter, arguably the most important, in the away leg of the League 1 play-offs which cemented Pompey’s fate in the 3rd tier of English football for another season.
Jackett makes one change from the 2-0 win at Lincoln on Tuesday night with Ben Close being dropped to the bench in favour of Barnsley loanee Cameron McGeehan.
Jack Whatmough was once again on the bench seeking his first taste of League football in almost a year.
The atmosphere inside Fratton Park was always going to be hostile for both sides given the teams’ rivalry and controversy during last season’s fixtures.
The first dangerous chance came for The Black Cats when O’Nien connected with the ball outside the box and hit the post of Bass’ goal. The ball ricochetted off the Pompey keeper and went out for a corner to keep the game level.
Ronan Curtis won a free-kick on the left side in the 25th minute. The Irishman took the responsibility to deliver a deep ball to the far post where Burgess headed home his 3rd of the season on his 200th appearance for the club.
Pompey had a chance to quickly double the lead just 2 minutes after when John Marquis found himself in possession of the ball after Curtis knocked it through on goal. The Englishman took a shot at McLuaghlin’s goal but it sailed just left of the post.
Just before the half time whistle, Charlie Wyke chased a through ball down the channel to meet Bass 1 on 1. The Pompey keeper however got there first and The Black Cats striker took a tumble landing on his arm. Wyke is thought to have suffered an injury during this challenge preventing him from continuing the game, as he was replaced by Kyle Lafferty at the start of the second half.
Set pieces are proving to be a real threat for Kenny Jackett’s team as of late. In the 52nd minute Ronan Curtis delivered an accurate cross this time from a corner, where James Bolton ran in unmarked to tap the ball into the back of the net from 4 yards and double Pompey’s lead.
With 3 minutes to go until the final whistle the Sunderland medical staff were called to tend to Joel Lynch after he collided with team-mate Jon McLaughlin in the air. The Welsh centre-back was stretched off after a lengthy stoppage.
My Man Of The Match: Ronan Curtis
The Sunderland back-four struggled to keep the in-form Pompey winger from breaking on goal every time he had possession of the ball, and was inevitably fouled continuously throughout the game to prevent further damage.