Sunderland’s unbeaten start to the League One campaign ended on Saturday after Portsmouth won 3-1 at the SOL with the lads turning in their worst performance of the season so far. A brace from Jon Marquis after a Marcus Harness opener sealed a deserved victory for Kenny Jackett’s team. Charlie Wyke notched what turned out to be a consolation for Phil Parkinson’s side who were reduced to ten men late in the second half after Luke O’Nien conceded a penalty and picked up a second yellow card.
Phil Parkinson made one change to the side that beat Crewe at the SOL on Tuesday with fit again Jordan Willis replacing Connor McLaughlin in defence. The visitors got the game underway kicking towards the North Stand but they immediately punted the ball out of play.
Portsmouth opened the scoring just inside ten minutes after Marcus Harness slotted past Lee Burge unmarked at the back post with a tidy left footed finish. Sunderland with some unusually poor defending were carved open by Portsmouth on the right-hand side with Jacobs sliding the ball to Harness to open the scoring. At the other end Sunderland won a free kick on the angle of the box and tried to hit back immediately but Chris Maguire blazed over.
We did level a couple of minutes later after good work from Hume on the left who beat his man before crossing into the box for Wyke. Wyke did well to get in front of his marker and stab the ball into the back of the net with a confident finish. Sunderland almost fell behind immediately again from a set piece and were fortunate that Burge produced a decent stop to deny Ragget’s header. Soon after Burge then had to deny Ragget this time turning his long-range free kick over the bar for a corner which Sunderland cleared.
Sunderland did fall behind after twenty-five minutes and again they were the architects of their own downfall with another piece of sloppy play. Grant Leadbitter was guilty of a poor pass which was intercepted by Harness. Harness, who was causing Sunderland all sorts of problems, slid the ball into the path of Jon Marquis, once linked with a move to Sunderland, who fired the ball past Burge into the bottom left had corner.
After conceding the second goal Portsmouth kept the pressure on Sunderland and continued to look the most threatening side. They kept pressing forward keeping Sunderland pinned in their own half and forced a few corners though we managed to defend these.
Five minutes before the break we had a half chance to level after Hume’s blocked shot fell kindly into the path of Maguire, but the Scot volleyed over from a difficult angle. Portsmouth had another effort on goal before the break, but Harness sliced an ambitious effort well wide of the mark from long range whilst at the other end Wyke couldn’t get on the end of Hume’s cross.
Sunderland were out early after the break and had to wait for the visitors to emerge from the dressing room before getting the game back underway kicking towards the North Stand. We were on the front foot immediately with Gooch seeing a shot blocked from the edge of the box before the American clipped the loose ball to the back post towards Charlie Wyke though the Portsmouth keeper punched clear.
The lads kept the pressure on, and Charlie Wyke could have done better with a cross five minutes after the restart. Denver Hume latched onto a pass from Maguire and picked out Wyke a good cross from the left, but he glanced his header well wide of the post albeit under a challenge. Wyke had another chance ten minutes later after Sunderland won a free kick on the right-hand side of the pitch. Josh Scowen curled the set piece into the box but Wyke headed over.
With twenty minutes remaining Luke O’Nien was booked for a cynical foul to stop a Portsmouth break. Sunderland had been on the attack with a decent move but after Grant Leadbitter’s shot was charged down the visitors broke dangerously at speed forcing O’Nien into the foul. Phil Parkinson then made his first change of the afternoon with Will Grigg replacing Josh Scowen.
Grigg had an effort on goal after a good cross from Gooch from the right but he nodded wide. At the other end the visitors had the ball in the back of the net again, but Marquis’ effort was ruled out for offside. Parkinson then made his second change of the afternoon with Danny Graham replacing Grant Leadbitter with ten minutes remaining.
Graham had no chance to make an impact and the visitors soon sealed the victory from the penalty spot after Luke O’Nien fouled Williams in the box and was also sent off after receiving his second yellow card. Jon Marquis converted the penalty easily sending Burge the wrong way finding the bottom right hand corner.
There was no way back for Sunderland and in fact the visitors could have won by a greater margin but for a smart save from Lee Burge to turn a shot from Harness round the post. A miserable afternoon on Wearside.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Portsmouth 3
ALS Man of the Match: Wasn’t one, hopefully just a bad day at the office