Sunderland’s unbeaten run halted by Portsmouth

Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson during the Sky Bet League 1 match between Sunderland and Doncaster Rovers at the Stadium Of Light, Sunderland on Friday 24th January 2020. (Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto)

Portsmouth 2-0 Sunderland AFC, Fratton Park, Sky Bet League One

Sunderland’s seven game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of Portsmouth courtesy of goals from defenders Christian Burgess and James Bolton.

The Black Cats made a positive start to the game and came agonisingly close to opening the scoring after Luke O’Nien’s strike from 20-yards struck the inside of the post and rolled away to safety.

Christian Burgess marked his 200th appearance for Pompey in emphatic style, nodding in an in-swinging free kick from Ronan Curtis to put the hosts ahead just shy of the half-hour mark.

The hosts’ lead should have been doubled just two minutes later after John Marquis latched onto a headed through ball from Curtis, but the striker fired his shot wide.

The pressure from the home side was telling, and Sunderland keeper Jon McLaughlin kept his side in it with an instinctive reaction save following a mistimed header from Black Cats defender Bailey Wright.

Portsmouth doubled their lead shortly after the interval from another set-piece. Curtis’ in-swinging corner from the left was greeted by Bolton who tapped in from close range.

The hosts could have found themselves further ahead had it not been for McLaughlin, who made a series of decent saves throughout the remainder of the match.

Sunderland will look to get their promotion bid back on track when they host Ipswich Town next Saturday.