THREE GOALS IN 18 MINUTES SHOW SUNDERLAND THAT POMPEY ARE THE LEAGUE ONE BOSSES
By Site Reporter
Saturday 22 Dec 2018 21:36:00
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A whirlwind start to the second half was enough for Pompey to put Sunderland in their place at a rocking Fratton Park.

Three Pompey goals, one for Sunderland and a pivotal red card for the visitors all arrived within the first 18 minutes of the second period and enabled the Blues to open up an eight-point gap between them and the Black Cats.

It was a superb display by Pompey and they ran away with it from the start of the second half when Glenn Loovens was sent off for fouling a clean-through Oli Hawkins and Gareth Evans rifled home the penalty.

Ronan Curtis added a fine individual second before Luke O'Nien stole in to convert a long ball to the far post. But Ben Thompson made the points safe when he smashed in a deflected shot when a corner was only half-cleared.

It was the perfect Christmas present for Pompey's fans, who certainly made themselves heard as a full Fratton Park sampled its best atmosphere in a long time.

An unchanged starting line-up for the Blues were soon into their stride and the first half turned into an entertaining and fairly even one in which both sides did plenty of attacking but neither caused the opposition keeper too many concerns.

Curtis and Hawkins caused the Sunderland backline some uncomfortable moments in the first half, while Lynden Gooch brought a save out of Craig MacGillivray just before the interval.

The second half was only a minute or so old when Pompey got themselves in front. Curtis's long ball caught out Loovens and when Hawkins got goal side and shaped to shoot he fouled him - resulting in a penalty and a red card.

Evans smashed the penalty into the roof of the Fratton End net and three sides of the ground erupted as Sunderland reshuffled to cover the absence of Loovens.

Things soon got better for Pompey - Hawkins headed into the path of Curtis, who raced away down the left and worked his way into the box before beating Jon McLaughlin from an acute angle.

Pompey were in dreamland but their ambitions were checked when O'Nien arrived at the far post to convert a long ball from Reece James having left his marker behind.

Any worries that the Blues could be put under pressure for the final half hour, though, were blown away when Ben Thompson lashed in a half-cleared corner on 63 minutes with the aid of a deflection to restore the two-goal lead.

After that it was mostly a case of whether Pompey could rub further salt into Sunderland's wounds, and Hawkins planted a header just wide while sub Ben Close set up a couple of chances for a fourth - one going in but ruled offside.

What a way to send Pompey fans home for Christmas - a win they'll be looking to build on when they go to Gillingham on Boxing Day.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, B.Thompson; Lowe, Evans (c) (Close 72), Curtis (Green 87); Hawkins (Pitman 81) Goals: Evans 48 (pen), Curtis 53, B.Thompson 63 Booked: Hawkins, Curtis, N.Thompson Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Burgess, Wheeler

Sunderland (4-1-2-1-2): McLaughlin; O’Nien, Loovens, Baldwin, James; Cattermole; Honeyman (c) (Maguire 58), Power; McGeady (Sinclair 78); Gooch, Watmore (Ozturk 49). Subs not used: Ruiter, Oviedo, McGeouch, Maja

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 19,402 (2,637 away fans)



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