Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett hails point at Sunderland

Kenny Jackett hailed the point earned at Sunderland – despite automatic promotion slipping from their own hands.

Saturday, 27th April 2019, 7:27 pm
Updated Saturday, 27th April 2019, 7:33 pm
From left: Nathan Thompson, Tom Naylor and Matt Clarke at the final whistle Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues needed to match Barnsley’s home win against Blackpool to maintain their advantage on the race for a top-two finish.

But were unable to do so as they were held to a battling 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.

Jamal Lowe’s 24th-minute tap in cancelled out Tom Flanagan’s ninth-minute opener in a pulsating game on Wearside, with Pompey unable to find a winner that would have kept firmly in the automatic promotion race driving seat.

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From left: Nathan Thompson, Tom Naylor and Matt Clarke at the final whistle Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues boss refused to be too down beat, however, following a display that stretched the Fratton Park side’s unbeaten run to eight League One games and effectively killed off Sunderland’s own hopes of finishing in the top two.

Leaders Luton’s defeat at Burton also gives Pompey plenty to remain positive about, with Jackett’s side closing the gap on them to four points and having a game more left to play.

It all makes for an exciting climax to the season – and Jackett believes the point gained and display at Sunderland maintains the team’s momentum.

The Blues boss said: 'I felt we dug in, I felt our keeper made two outstanding saves, and was the busier keeper, in the second half anyway.

'We kept going forward, unable to get the right passes up there and when Oli (Hawkins) came on in the second half we didn't quite get up the pitch as easily as we normally do with him playing.

'But, obviously, Sunderland are a big club and a very good club and the atmosphere here today was excellent.

'In normal circumstances it was a very good point.

'We obviously wanted to win, as Sunderland did, and chasing the top two as both clubs that was our priority.

'In the last eight games we've won seven and drawn one, which is Sunderland away, which you really can't complain about.

'That run is fantastic.

'The form that the sides have shown all season really, the points total, if we hadn't put that type of pace on it would be over now.’