Portsmouth v Sunderland
16th May 2019
Fratton Park (18,077)
Portsmouth’s promotion hopes ends after an exciting 0-0 (0-1) draw with Sunderland.
Both Portsmouth and Sunderland made changes to their starting line ups. Portsmouth brought in Lee Brown, Viv Soloman-Otabar and Brett Pitman with Anton Walkes, Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis taking a place on the bench. Sunderland made two changes bringing in Grant Leadbitter and Chris Maguire for Lynden Gooch and Lewis Morgan.
Trailing by a single goal from the first leg at the Stadium of light it was down to Portsmouth to find the 1st goal to level the tie and home side certainly had the better of the chances to do so.
The match started in a heated fashion which continued throughout the game. With ball down in the Fratton End corner Naylor and Maguire tussled for the ball. Naylor then through the ball at Maguire’s head which could have resulted in the midfielder being dismissed but referee Peter Bankes opted for a caution. With Portsmouth attacking the Fratton End Stand a long cross from Lee Brown found Ollie Hawkins on the penalty spot. His knock down found the on rushing Evans. Evans 6 yards out headed the ball straight at Jon McLaughlin. The resulting corner was met by the head of Matt Clarke. Clarke’s header was directed downwards and the bounce just glancing the top of the cross bar. Portsmouth continued to apply the pressure with crosses flying in from Thompson and Brown but the Sunderland defence held strong going into the break.
In the second half Sunderland pressed higher up the pitch and applied pressure to the Portsmouth midfield. This almost allowed Sunderland’s Bryan Oviedo to put the tie out of reach but his 25yrd drive sailed narrowly over the bar.
With Sunderland pressing higher this caused Portsmouth to rush passes and give away possession cheaply. Although Portsmouth’s momentum had ebbed away, Jamal Lowe replaced Viv Soloman-Otobar to try and restore that attacking threat. Evans now on the left slipped in Brown to cross for Ollie Hawkins whose header was expertly saved by the Sunderland keeper. Lowe nearly then became provider as his cross was blocked at the near post, this allowed Pitman to loop a cross to the back post where Vaughan’s header was again blocked by that man McLaughlin again.
With 20 minutes remaining Portsmouth had a good appeal for a penalty turned down, when Evans’ free kick was played into the box Alim Ozturk appeared to be grappling with Matt Clarke but referee Peter Bankes ordered a corner.
With 2 minutes remain Portsmouth could have had James Vaughan dismissed. Already on a yellow card from a rash tackle earlier on. Vaughan chasing a long ball, bundled Oviedo to deck however on this occasion Peter Bankes decided just a stern warning would be enough on this occasion.
Full Time Portsmouth 0 (0) Sunderland 0 (1)
Match Report: Mike Hurdle, Photos: Andrew Hurdle