Chris Maguire’s stunning volley secured a 1-0 first leg win over Portsmouth, here’s what we learned from the victory.
Chris Maguire has to start at Fratton Park.
The forward was one of several players to endure a tough afternoon at Southend United, Maguire dropped to the bench against Portsmouth as a result.
But within minutes of coming on he showcased his class.
A stunning volley. He also hit the post. Maguire is one of the club’s best finishers. He has to start Thursday, playing off Charlie Wyke in that No.10 role.
The two sides are sick of the sight of each other.
Four times these two teams have played each other with game number five coming up on Thursday.
Naturally tensions are a little fraught, there was a number of spats throughout the game and there was some needle at the final whistle too.
Sunderland will need to be composed and keep their cool at a rocking Fratton Park Thursday night.
Alim Ozturk will be a huge miss if appeal is lost.
The defender has been a rock in recent weeks and he was producing another commanding display alongside Tom Flanagan, whose distribution leaves a lot to be desired.
No nonsense. Cleared his lines comfortably and was winning his headers. A mistimed tackle and he saw red.
It was never a sending off, Gareth Evans going away from goal but Sunderland will do well to win the appeal.
With Ozturk set to miss the away leg, it is a chance for Jimmy Dunne to step into the role.
Smallest crowd but one of the biggest atmospheres.
The roar when the players emerged from the tunnel was immense. The first hour was tense and tight in nature, the atmosphere dipped midway into the first half but it was electric second half.
The crowd played a huge part in helping Sunderland over the line. A good way to round off the season on home soil.
Lynden Gooch finds his spark.
Aiden McGeady’s withdrawal prior to kick-off was a hammerblow to Sunderland.
Lynden Gooch got the nod to start.
Gooch has been disappointing for several weeks now but he regained his spark against Portsmouth.
He proved a thorn in the side of Portsmouth and produced a great cross for Honeyman’s header saved by the Pompey keeper’s face.
A psychological victory for Sunderland.
Sunderland had played Pompey three times already this season and hadn’t beaten them once.
They have now.
Portsmouth shouldn’t hold any fear for Sunderland.
The Black Cats are more than capable of beating Pompey on their home soil but a draw would be enough for Sunderland to reach the final at Wembley.