Sunderland and Portsmouth shared the spoils in yet another 1-1 draw that did neither team any favours as both teams look destined for the playoffs.
Tom Flanagan’s early goal got the lads off to a perfect start, but Jamal Lowe equalised in the first half. Sunderland pushed and pushed for the winner but had to settle for the 19th draw of the season.
Every game seems to be Sunderland’s biggest game of the season, but this one had more to it after the Wembley defeat and Sunderland’s draw at Peterborough - Sunderland simply had to win.
Jack Ross only made once change to the line-up as Tom Flanagan came into the team for Jimmy Dunne. Adam Matthews came back into the squad as he had a place on the bench.
Portsmouth were one place above the lads going into the game and we’re looking to booster their chances of going up automatically.
The first chance of the game came to Lewis Morgan who got on the end of an Aiden McGeady cross and his incredible bicycle kick had to be brilliantly saved by Pompey keeper Craig MacGillivray
The atmosphere was electric inside the stadium of light with 40 thousand plus inside the Stadium of Light.
With only nine minutes on the clock Sunderland broke the deadlock Max Power’s free kick found Tom Flanagan at the far post who superbly headed it into the bottom corner. An inspired change to the line-up from Jack Ross after criticism pre-match why he dropped Dunne.
Unsurprisingly, it was an incredibly feisty affair with three yellow cards inside the first 15 mins if the game.
After a positive start Sunderland began so sat back and Ben Close had a deflected effort that needed to be tipped round the post.
Moments later Portsmouth equalised - a cross to back post was debatably kept in and headed across to Brad Pittman who hit the bar - it kindly fell to Jamal Lowe to tap home from six yards out.
Power failed to clear straight from kick off fell to Close who tried to lob McLaughlin but just it wide of the post. The lads needed to wake up and get back to playing football after such a good start all if the work was undone.
Some good play down the left from Honeyman found Lee Cattermole at the far post and on the volley, he sliced it horribly over the bar - it would have been some goal if he were to score.
In added time Charlie Wyke got in the end of an amazing ball by Morgan and Wyke looked destined to score, MacGillivray had other ideas and made a remarkable save to keep the scores level.
The second half had started a lot slower that the first with neither side really getting into top gear in the first ten minutes following the break.
Looking to seal the three points Chris Maguire was introduced for George Honeyman as Ross looked for a more creative spark.
Sunderland looked as if they had a penalty as Wyke appeared to be fouled in the box, but the referee waved play on much to the frustration of the players and fans.
With 20 mins to play Sunderland needed some inspiration to keep the promotion hopes alive – Will Grigg was sent on to hopefully provide it.
MacGillivray was having an incredible game for Pompey. Maguire slipped it through to Power and he saved it brilliantly to his right.
Maguire looked to be through on goal down the right, but he tried to pick out Wyke when he should have really been a bit more selfish and go for goal.
It was all Sunderland and McGeady played a great little chipped cross to Grigg who lashed it against the post – it was simply not our day.
The last chance Grigg flicked it to Maguire who looked set to shoot but turned and lost possession – at that stage of the game he had to just go for glory and try to bury it.
Final Score: Sunderland 1-1 Portsmouth
ALS Man of the Match: Lee Cattermole