League One - Play-offs - 2nd Leg
Portsmouth0Sunderland0

Portsmouth 0-0 Sunderland (0-1 agg): Black Cats reach League One play-off final

Jack Ross
Jack Ross took charge of Sunderland last summer after winning the Scottish Championship title with St Mirren

Sunderland moved a step closer to an immediate return to the Championship as they saw off Portsmouth to reach the League One play-off final.

After a goalless and fractious second leg, Chris Maguire's volley from the first leg at the Stadium of Light was enough to get them to Wembley.

It was revenge for the Black Cats, who lost the Checkatrade Trophy final on penalties to the same opposition in March.

A tempestuous and scrappy game failed to live up to the hype and followed a similar pattern to the first leg in terms of a lack of chances at either end.

There was ill-discipline throughout on a night when referee Peter Bankes showed six yellow cards.

At one stage, frustrations among the capacity crowd threatened to spill on to the pitch when Sunderland full-back Luke O'Nien accidentally landed in the front rows of touchline seating when trying to keep the ball in play and then had to be dragged away by team-mates from a spectator.

After the match, Black Cats midfielder Lee Cattermole said his team-mate O'Nien was "punched in the back" by the fan, although the 24-year-old defender played it down as "just a bit of handbags".

On the pitch, two fine saves by Jon McLaughlin in either half from Gareth Evans and James Vaughan headers, and Matt Clarke nodding a corner on to the crossbar, were the closest Pompey came to drawing level on aggregate.

However, as their frustrations at a lack of penetration grew in the closing stages, Sunderland were more than comfortable holding on to their 1-0 aggregate lead.

Manager Jack Ross has now taken the Mackems to Wembley twice in his first season in charge and knows one more win would provide a happy ending to another turbulent campaign off the pitch with uncertainty surrounding the future ownership of the club.

Sunderland will face either Charlton Athletic or Doncaster Rovers in the final on Sunday, 26 May, with the Addicks holding a 2-1 lead going into Friday's second leg.

Portsmouth are still to win a play-off match in six attempts and will remain in League One for a third successive season.

Hope and despair in equal measure

Sunderland players celebrate
Sunderland only picked up two points from their last four games of the season to finish six points off the top two

While Sunderland have a big day at Wembley to look forward to, Portsmouth will be left contemplating what might have been.

Many pundits had both sides down as automatic promotion favourites at the start of the season, but a lack of consistency left both trailing Luton Town and Barnsley.

Promotion for Sunderland would end a sorry two years in the club's history after back-to-back relegations from the Premier League and Championship.

Portsmouth remain ambitious and determined to continue their climb back up the divisions, but another failure to win a play-off tie will be a frustration.

Automatic promotion was in their own hands in the closing stages of the season, but the play-offs may well have represented two games too many for Kenny Jackett's side.

Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett told BBC Radio Solent:

"Some big saves from Jon McLaughlin and us hitting the bar from the following corner, they were the key moments.

"It was a tight game and indeed a tight 180 minutes across the whole tie. Chris Maguire's ultimately produced the bit of quality to decide it. We built up quite a head of steam in the first half, but in the second - bar a couple of incidents - we couldn't quite produce the chances.

"We needed one of those half-chances to go our way and lift the crowd to give us that momentum.

"We wanted to get promoted. We've pushed it, got 88 points in the regular season, won a cup competition and had a decent run in the FA Cup. But ultimately, the important thing now is that we regroup and go again next season."

Sunderland manager Jack Ross:

"There's satisfaction in that we've answered a fair bit of criticism to get through this game.

"The times we've played here this season, it's been a proper atmosphere and a real test, so to come through it is very pleasing. But now my work comes about who we will face in the final and that work starts tomorrow.

"We have another opportunity now to go to Wembley and achieve ultimately what we set out to do at the start of the season.

"The fact that it's at Wembley is an addition and the fact we've been there recently just takes that little bit of the occasion away from it and it just becomes a really important game for us."

Line-ups

Portsmouth

  • 15MacGillivray
  • 20Thompson
  • 6Burgess
  • 5Clarke
  • 3Brown
  • 7NaylorBooked at 11mins
  • 33Close
  • 26EvansBooked at 4mins
  • 8PitmanBooked at 45mins
  • 19Solomon-OtaborSubstituted forLoweat 53'minutes
  • 9HawkinsSubstituted forVaughanat 68'minutesBooked at 79mins

Substitutes

  • 2Walkes
  • 10Lowe
  • 11Curtis
  • 18Dennis
  • 24Morris
  • 32Vaughan
  • 35Bass

Sunderland

  • 1McLaughlin
  • 13O'NienBooked at 75mins
  • 5Ozturk
  • 12Flanagan
  • 3Oviedo
  • 27PowerSubstituted forMorganat 80'minutes
  • 6Cattermole
  • 23Leadbitter
  • 10Honeyman
  • 9WykeSubstituted forGriggat 83'minutes
  • 7MaguireBooked at 21minsSubstituted forGoochat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Matthews
  • 11Gooch
  • 14Watmore
  • 17Morgan
  • 22Grigg
  • 25Ruiter
  • 30Dunne
Referee:
Peter Bankes
Attendance:
18,077

Match Stats

Home TeamPortsmouthAway TeamSunderland
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home13
Away5
Shots on Target
Home4
Away1
Corners
Home4
Away7
Fouls
Home15
Away19

Live Text

Match ends, Portsmouth 0, Sunderland 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Portsmouth 0, Sunderland 0.

Attempt saved. Brett Pitman (Portsmouth) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Christian Burgess.

Foul by Lynden Gooch (Sunderland).

Jamal Lowe (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Jamal Lowe.

Lynden Gooch (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jamal Lowe (Portsmouth).

Lynden Gooch (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Nathan Thompson (Portsmouth).

Foul by Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland).

Brett Pitman (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Vaughan (Portsmouth).

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Jamal Lowe.

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Lee Brown.

Luke O'Nien (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Vaughan (Portsmouth).

Attempt missed. Brett Pitman (Portsmouth) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Lee Brown with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. William Grigg replaces Charlie Wyke.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Lewis Morgan replaces Max Power.

Booking

James Vaughan (Portsmouth) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Max Power (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Vaughan (Portsmouth).

Foul by Luke O'Nien (Sunderland).

James Vaughan (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Grant Leadbitter (Sunderland).

James Vaughan (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Luke O'Nien (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, Portsmouth. Conceded by Alim Ozturk.

James Vaughan (Portsmouth) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Grant Leadbitter (Sunderland).

Foul by Brett Pitman (Portsmouth).

Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. James Vaughan (Portsmouth) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Brett Pitman.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Lynden Gooch replaces Chris Maguire.

Substitution

Substitution, Portsmouth. James Vaughan replaces Oliver Hawkins.

Gareth Evans (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Christian Burgess.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Luton462713690424894
2Barnsley462613780394191
3Charlton4626101073403388
4Portsmouth462513883513288
5Sunderland462219580473385
6Doncaster4620131376581873
7Peterborough462012147162972
8Coventry461811175454065
9Burton461712176657963
10Blackpool461517145052-262
11Fleetwood461613175852661
12Oxford Utd461515165864-660
13Gillingham461510216172-1155
14Accrington461413195167-1655
15Bristol Rovers461315184750-354
16Rochdale46159225487-3354
17Wycombe461411215567-1253
18Shrewsbury461216185159-852
19Southend46148245568-1350
20Wimbledon461311224263-2150
21Plymouth461311225680-2450
22Walsall461211234971-2247
23Scunthorpe461210245383-3046
24Bradford46118274977-2841
View full League One table

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