Sunderland 1-0 Portsmouth: Match Report and Player Ratings

Sunderland got back to winning ways this afternoon at home to Portsmouth after a three game winless run.

The game was a very close encounter with both sides aiming to end their poor run of form but a Elliot Embleton goal secured an important three points for Lee Johnson’s side, with both Rotherham and Wigan winning in their respective fixtures.

Team news

Hoffmann, Gooch, Flanagan, Batth, Doyle, Cirkin, Evans, Neil, Embleton, Dajaku, Stewart

Sunderland started the game slowly with Portsmouth seeing most of the possession with Corey Evans and Lynden Gooch guilty of giving away cheap possession on numerous occasions in the opening ten minutes.

Tom Flanagan almost gifted Portsmouth the opening goal when trying to cruyff turn in his own box but was able to recover with a last ditch challenge on Tyler Walker before the on loan striker was able to get his shot away.

Sunderland’s first chance of the game came in the 20th minute when Elliot Embleton forced a save from Gavin Bazunu before the keeper was able to recover the rebound at the feet of Ross Stewart.

The best chance of the half fell to Leon Dajaku after working hard to dispossess Sean Raggett before sending a long range effort just wide of the post, with Stewart unmarked in the penalty area.

Sunderland took the lead five minutes before half time with Embleton finishing well into the far corner after some good high pressing from the home side with Stewart registering an assist.

The second half was a very close affair with neither side having any stand out chances.

Sunderland debutant Danny Batth was heavily involved in the latter stages of the second half alongside defensive partner Callum Doyle, as Portsmouth threw everything forward in an attempt to get an equaliser but Sunderland held strong and secured an important three points.

Lee Johnson’s side travel to Bolton next weekend as they look to make it back to back wins in the league.

Player ratings

Thorben Hoffmann- 6, Was a spectator for large parts of the game with Portsmouth rarely threatening the Sunderland goal.

Lynden Gooch- 6, Looked more confident today and offered a threat offensively but remained suspect defensively on a side that Portsmouth looked to exploit.

Danny Batth- 9, Impressed on his debut and provided the attributes we were told he would. Won the majority of aerial duals and always found himself at the right place at the right time to make a defensive block or clearance. Bullied Portsmouths attackers off the ball and put some strong challenges in.

Callum Doyle- 9- Composed on the ball and defensively solid in both air and ground duals. Similar to Batth, he dominated Portsmouth’s attackers all afternoon.

Tom Flanagan- 5, Once again guilty of kicking the air at times when Portsmouth targeted his side of defence and constantly lost cheap possession of the ball.

Dennis Cirkin- 6, Never really in the game for Sunderland. Offered little threat offensively and was caught in possession on too many occasions. Defensively solid and held his position well.

Dan Neil- 6, Steady performance. Played some neat football at times but similar to others, was guilty of holding on to the ball for a second too long.

Corey Evans- 6, His positioning made it difficult for Portsmouth to break Sunderland down but when on the ball he contributed little offensively. Helped protect Sunderland’s back line.

Elliot Embleton- 7, Took his goal very well and was busy throughout the game without being overly productive in the final third.

Leon Dajaku- 5, Lots of energy but struggled to make an impact for Sunderland. Came close to scoring the opening goal after dispossessing Raggett but possibly made the wrong decision with Stewart unmarked in the box.

Ross Stewart- 7, Good vision to assist Embleton’s goal and worked hard throughout, chasing every ball down.




MOTM- Danny Batth