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Sunderland hold narrowest advantage - but Pompey boss remains calm
Sunday, 12th May 2019 15:29 by staff

It's not a disaster. That's Kenny Jackett's verdict on Pompey's 1-0 play-off semi-final first-leg defeat to Sunderland.

And the Pompey boss is confident his team have what it takes to turn the tie around in Thursday night's second leg at a full-up Fratton Park.

A second half goal by ex-Pompey loan forward Chris Maguire separates the sides after a slightly disappointing first leg at the Stadium of Light in which Sunderland had Alim Ozturk sent off for stopping Gareth Evans' charge to goal.

Jackett told 'We’re 1-0 down at half-time, with the second leg to come at Fratton Park – I certainly don’t think that’s a disaster. It’s still evenly balanced and we have to make our home advantage count on Thursday evening. We are capable of that.

'I felt we were the stronger side in the first half and just couldn’t get the shots off or threaten in the wide areas. Our delivery into the box wasn’t right and we came out of good areas and then went back into midfield.

'We looked pretty solid for the away side, although Sunderland did have a 15-minute period when they were on top. Maguire scored a terrific goal, which left our goalkeeper with no chance and then we again couldn’t find those shots when it was 11 against 10.

'Our two best efforts were both from Gareth Evans and he hit the bar with one of them from a free-kick.'

Pompey were hit pre-match by the absence of injured duo Brett Pitman and Lee Brown, both of whom Jackett hopes to have available for the second leg. With Brandon Haunstrup also injured that left Anton Walkes to fill in at left-back, and he acquitted himself reasonably well.

The game's only goal came on 62 when Maguire - only just on as a sub - volleyed in from the edge of the area after a Bryan Oviedo cross was only partially cleared.

Things took a dramatic turn a few minutes later when Ozturk saw red for fouling Evans as he ran through on the keeper. The free kick turned out to be the closest Pompey came to an equaliser, with Evans hitting the bar.

The final stages saw Sunderland content to waste time and hold on to their one-goal advantage. Only on Thursday will we know how much of an advantage it proves.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Walkes; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Evans (c), Curtis (Bogle 69); Hawkins (Solomon-Otabor 69) Subs not used: Bass, May, Cannon, Morris, Dennis.

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 26,610 (1,288 Pompey fans)


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