A hopeful red and white army travelled south in anticipation of a wild weekend in the capital. The Saturday night was outstanding and proved we have the best support in the country, but fans were left in tears after a dramatic penalty shootout.
The lads took the game by the scruff of the neck as they completely dominated the first half. Aiden McGeady placed a free kick into the top corner to give us a half time lead.
However, Sunderland couldn’t continue their form in the second half, as Pompey grew in confidence and had the majority of possession. Despite resolute defending, the Blues netted in front of their delighted half of the stadium after 82 minutes.
Extra time began with Sunderland and Portsmouth both unwilling to take risks and open the game up and went into the half time of extra time at a deadlock.
Pompey thought they had the game won five minutes later as Jamal Lowe showed immense skill to lob Jon McLaughlin who was stuck in no-man’s land.
Sunderland showed excellent character to pull back an equaliser, as Charlie Wyke laid the ball off for McGeady for his second of the game, meaning the game would be decided by penalties, with neither Grigg or Leadbitter on the pitch.
McGeady was first up, who expertly dispatched into the bottom corner. The Blues scored the following spot kick in front of their fans. Then up stepped Lee Cattermole. Lee didn’t look confident at all when walking to the spot and took a very predictable penalty that the keeper easily saved. That was the only penalty to separate the teams.
Jon McLaughlin (6/10): Horrible mix up for the second Pompey goal. Can’t be blamed for penalties but didn’t save any. Perhaps nerves and the Pompey fans got the better of him.
Luke O’Nien (7/10): Did well going forward and back. Provided a decent outlet and good in the air.
Jack Baldwin (6/10): Mistimed a few tackles and a few misplaced passes but generally solid.
Tom Flanagan (6/10): Like Baldwin, extremely frustrating on the ball.
Reece James (6/10): Solid, but unfortunately his day was cut short due to injury.
Grant Leadbitter (7/10): Controlled possession well in the first half, but Wembley’s large pitch meant he tired later on. Perhaps the result could have been different if he’d have been on the pitch to take that second penalty
Lee Cattermole (6/10): Paired well once again with Grant, and unfortunately his penalty will be forever in his memory.
George Honeyman (5/10): Largely ineffectual in his return to the side, and many fans were left wondering why he didn’t step up and take a penalty.
Lewis Morgan (6/10): Bright spark in the first half but faded in the second.
Aiden McGeady (9/10): The winger was full of tricks today, and deservedly got two goals and a well-taken penalty. Fantastic.
Will Grigg (6/10): Made the best out of what he had but once again, we didn’t give him any service.