An evenly contested match between two promotion rivals ended in a stalemate. Neither side could find a winner. An acrobatic effort from Lewis Morgan was clawed away from the top corner impressively after just five minutes. This lifted the already vocal crowd.
On the ten-minute mark, Sunderland won a free kick. Max Power whipped in a quick cross with pace that was met emphatically by the unlikely hero, Tom Flanagan. Controversially, Pompey got a scrappy equaliser. The linesman unforgivably misjudged the ball to still be in play when it was clearly out, and James Vaughan of all people met the following cross. His header ricocheted off the bar but fell to Jamal Lowe, who had a tap in from close range. The score was evenly balanced after 45 minutes.
Pompey controlled the first section of the second half without really creating too much, our defence managed against the talented forward line. The lads grew into the game in the last 20 minutes after the introduction of Chris Maguire and Will Grigg. We’d thought we had it won as an Aiden McGeady cross was met by Will Grigg; the ball crashed against the post and was cleared by Pompey. The game finished 1-1 and automatic promotion seems to be out of Sunderland’s grasp now.
Jon McLaughlin (6/10): Didn’t do a whole lot wrong but distribution was frustrating, with a few wayward kicks.
Luke O’Nien (5/10): Grafted throughout but struggled defensively.
Tom Flanagan (7/10): Assured and composed in his return to the team. Great header to open the scoring and dealt with Pompey’s forward line well.
Alim Ozturk (7/10): Strong and sharp after shaky games against Doncaster and Peterborough.
Bryan Oviedo (5/10): Struggled significantly against the talented Jamal Lowe. Gave the ball away a lot.
Lee Cattermole (7/10): Anonymous initially but grew into the game. Dictated well in the second half as we pushed for a winner.
Max Power (7/10): Produced a few good crosses, including one for the opener. Good in the tackle too.
Lewis Morgan (6/10): Bright and good on the ball but didn’t have half as much success against Pompey as he did at Wembley.
Aiden McGeady (6/10): Largely ineffectual. However, it is easily understandable considering recent news of the winger’s injury.
George Honeyman (4/10): Poor from the captain. He gave the ball away far too often and didn’t win second balls. No end product today.
Charlie Wyke (6/10): Visibly frustrates with the physical centre halves. Had a massive chance to score but generally held the ball up well and managed to bring others into play.
Chris Maguire (6/10): A couple of powerful shots but doesn’t look match fit. Gave the ball away a few times but it’s nice to see the lad back on the pitch.
Will Grigg (6/10): Pressed well but ineffective.
Adam Matthews (N/A): Wasn’t on long enough and didn’t do anything.