Phil Smith's Sunderland AFC player ratings: 'Exceptional' Jon McLaughlin thwarts Portsmouth to seal Wembley return

Sunderland have sealed their spot in the League One play-off final - but how did their players rate?

By Mark Donnelly
Thursday, 16 May, 2019, 22:09
How Sunderland players rated at Portsmouth

Our Sunderland AFC writer Phil Smith has dished out his player ratings - with some big praise across the board. Scroll down and click through the pages to see who shone - and struggled - for the Black Cats at Portsmouth:

Exceptional. One outstanding block from Gareth Evans and though he would have expected to save the others, it was his complete calm and command of the box that made the difference. 9
Yet again stood tall in an unfamiliar position. Gave nothing up and got forward when he could in the second half. Very good in the air. 7
Saw off Oli Hawkins with a now typically combative defensive performance. A key display to deliver an outstanding clean sheet in such a high-pressure game. 8
Did the basics superbly and never strayed from position. Excellent contribution to a superb rearguard. 7
Excellent defensively yet again, barely giving neither Viv Solomon-Otabor nor Jamal Lowe an opening. Delivering at the key moment for his team now. 7
Unlucky that a fine pass for Maguire did not produce a goal, and then showed excellent composure and intelligence in the second half to guide his boyhood team to Wembley. 8
Part of a midfield that controlled the tempo and managed the game very well in the latter stages. Really tenacity and deserved to be in the winning side over two legs. 7

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Got about the pitch well and particularly in the second half, offered some good composure on the ball. Tenacious in an effective midfield trio. 6
Constantly ran the channels to offer his side an outlet and ensure they were never completely pinned back to their own half. 6
Started brightly and had clearly riled the Portsmouth players. Early yellow affected his influence and he slipped after forging a clear opening just before the break. 6
Yet another relentless battle with Christian Burgess. Got his side up the pitch at crucial moments but never had much of a sight at goal. 6
Full of running and held it in the corner very well towards the end. 6
Had little time to contribute but dug in well and covered plenty of ground. 6
A quietly extremely effective cameo in the latter stages, full of clever touches to take time out of the game. Really good composure. 7