Portsmouth keeper Craig MacGillivray explains crucial Sunderland saves and where his performance ranks during career

It was a performance that received rave reviews from both sets of supporters following the final whistle at the Stadium of Light.

Sunday, 28th April 2019, 6:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th April 2019, 8:14 pm

And it will rank as the best display of Craig MacGillivray’s career should Pompey go on to earn promotion from League One.

The keeper was in outstanding form during his side’s 1-1 draw at Sunderland on Saturday.

He produced four magnificent saves to ensure the Blues remain with a chance of finishing in the top two.

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Sunderland fans shocked after Craig MacGillivray keeps out Charlie Wyke's close-range effort. Picture: Joe Pepler
Sunderland fans shocked after Craig MacGillivray keeps out Charlie Wyke's close-range effort. Picture: Joe Pepler

In the fourth minute, MacGillivray tipped Lewis Morgan’s overhead kick on to the post, before thwarting Charlie Wyke’s effort with his legs in first-half stoppage-time.

After the interval, the Scot refused to be breached, pushing Max Power’s well-struck effort around the post.

And, arguably the most important of all, arrived in the 85th minute when Will Grigg’s effort was diverted on to the woodwork by MacGillivray’s bicep.

The former Shrewsbury stopper toasted his fine outing – and it will rank above all others if Kenny Jackett’s men reach the Championship this term.

Craig MacGillivray delivered a man-of-the-match performance against Sunderland. Picture: Joe Pepler

He said: ‘You have to be alert throughout the game. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the 95th minute.

‘To be honest, I didn’t think Flanagan would catch it as cleanly as he did.

‘I just reacted and luckily I got enough to push it on to the post and we were able to clear from there.

‘It’s amazing how much a fingertip actually does. The slightest little nick can make a massive difference and that proved it.

‘For the save from Wyke, the ball across was near enough inch-perfect. Burgey (Christian Burgess) couldn’t really touch the ball because it would have gone in my net, I couldn’t come and get it because the pace of it was too fast.

‘It was one of them where you throw yourself to the side and hope for the best. Fortunately enough, I saved it.

‘I’ll be honest, I was trying to get my foot out of the net after it because it was stuck!

‘I looked back out at Nathan (Thompson) and thought “I have to get my foot out here” so I had to take my eye off the ball and start moving my foot.

‘There was no way I could have got my foot out without having a quick glance down. I said to Nath I was glad to see he dealt with it because I was stuck.

‘In the second half, Grigg toed it but managed to keep the pace on the ball. The old bicep pushed it on to the post – a few fans will like the thought of that! Fortunately the pace and post took it away.

‘My performance has got to be up there. I had one towards the end of the season at Blackpool that was good.

‘If we win promotion it will be the top one.’

MacGillivray missed out on a clean sheet at Sunderland, with Tom Flanagan heading home in the ninth minute.

Jamal Lowe struck Pompey’s equaliser 15 minutes later.

Although MacGillivray hasn’t recorded a shutout in his past six games, he’s confident one will arrive soon.

He added: ‘The only thing missing was a clean sheet.

‘We will get another one and it’s just a matter of time.’