Portsmouth 2-2 Sunderland (AET) – Portsmouth win 5-4 on penalties
Sunderland were beaten 5-4 on penalties by Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy Final on Sunday afternoon.
The Lads dominated the opening 45 minutes, with Aiden McGeady’s sublime free-kick sending the red and white army into pandemonium at Wembley Stadium.
Pompey fought back following the break and Jack Ross’ men came under immense pressure, with Brett Pittman striking the post before Nathan Thompson and Jamal Lowe went close.
Sunderland looked to have weathered the storm, but a sucker punch arrived on 83 minutes when Thompson steamed in at the back post and powered an unstoppable header into the net.
Extra-time was required, and Portsmouth went ahead when Lowe’s Lobbed finish nestled into the net, but McGeady struck again with seconds remaining to ensure penalties were required.
Lee Cattermole missed Sunderland’s second penalty and Pompey made no mistake, converting all five of their spot kicks to clinch the Checkatrade Trophy.
Academy graduate George Honeyman captained the Lads at Wembley, and he created the first chance of the game inside 60 seconds.
A clever ball from Lewis Morgan found the skipper in space, and he flashed the ball across goal towards Will Grigg, who was a fraction away from connecting.
At the other end, the lively Omar Bogle charged forward and won a free-kick, which resulted in Jon McLaughlin making a comfortable save to deny Christian Burgess at the back post.
Sunderland responded with a volley of chances, as Morgan’s effort deflected onto the roof of the net before a Pompey head flicked Grant Leadbitter’s wicked free-kick just wide.
The Lads continued to crank up the pressure as Pompey struggled to get out of their defensive third, with Morgan’s spectacular volley forcing a cracking save from Craig MacGillivray after the half-hour mark.
You sensed an opener was coming, and with 39 minutes on the clock, it did.
30 yards from goal, McGeady stepped up and curled a sumptuous free-kick into the top corner before running straight back towards the Sunderland supporters to celebrate with the red and white army.
After entering the break behind, Portsmouth saw Bogle’s header cleared off the line within moments of the restart, but it wouldn’t have stood, with the striker fouling Luke O’Nien before connecting with the corner.
Sunderland continued to see more of the ball, but Kenny Jackett’s side came within a whisker of an equaliser just after the hour mark, as Pittman’s half-volley crashed against the post.
And the pressure didn’t end there, with Tom Flanagan’s header diverting into the path of Thompson, who lifted the ball over McLaughlin and the crossbar.
Lowe was next to try his luck as Sunderland nerves jangled, but the forward side-footed a glorious opportunity well wide.
Ross introduced fresh legs as the game entered the final 20 minutes, with Lynden Gooch and Max Power entering the fray.
But Pompey continued to turn the screw, and they levelled with just eight minutes to go through Thompson.
A stunning last-ditch block from Leadbitter ensured Gareth Evans didn’t clinch it in added time, with Denver Hume’s cross flashing across the face of goal seconds later.
Pompey crafted the first real opening following the restart, as the Lads conceded possession in their defensive third before Lowe volleyed wide.
Indecision followed as hesitant defending almost opened the door for Jackett’s men, but McLaughlin was alert to the danger and cleared after racing off his line.
The Scotland international produced a wonder save soon after, but he was powerless to prevent Lowe’s winner, as the forward’s lobbed finish handed Portsmouth the lead.
But the drama wasn’t over there, and McGeady levelled with seconds of extra-time remaining to restore hope within red and white ranks.
Penalties, then, but this time the cards were dealt in Pompey’s favour, as MacGillivray denied Cattermole with what proved to be the decisive spot kick.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Flanagan, Baldwin, O’Nien, James (Hume 87), Leadbitter (95 Wyke), Cattermole, Honeyman, McGeady, Morgan (Gooch 72), Grigg (Power 76).
Subs not used: Ruiter, McGeouch, Dunne.
Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Thompson (Walkes 113), Brown, Burgess, Clarke, Naylor, Lowe, Close, Bogle (Hawkins 68), Curtis (Evans 55), Pitman.
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, May, Vaughan.