'You would not get out alive', jokes Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley after failed Sunderland bid to get Fratton Park game called off at half-time

Danny Cowley said it would have taken a ‘very brave referee’ to call off Pompey’s fixture against Sunderland at half-time today.

Saturday, 2nd October 2021, 6:47 pm
Updated Saturday, 2nd October 2021, 6:47 pm

And he quipped: ‘I’m not sure you would get out alive’ as the Blues entered the break at 3-0 up against the Black Cats.

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson and many of his players approached referee Ben Toner at the end of the first half in the hope of having the game abandoned due to the conditions.

Torrential rain made the pitch waterlogged in many areas.

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Yet it didn’t appear to dampen Pompey’s progress as they raced into a 3-0 interval lead against the league leaders thanks to goals from Marcus Harness, Lee Brown and John Marquis.

There were concerns among the Blues that Sunderland’s request would be granted, with no let-up in the rain in sight.

Yet Toner rejected calls from the visitors – and that allowed Cowley’s side to secure a 4-0 win, with Marquis adding his second of the game after the restart.

That earned him The News man-of-the-match.

Sunderland were looking to get today's game called off at half-time because of the conditions. Picture: Jason Brown

But Cowley said the ground staff were the real standout performers as they ensured the match got finished to allow the Blues to record their first league win since mid-August.

Speaking to BBC Solent at the final whistle, the Blues boss said: ‘I thought we we better kicking into the shallow end!

‘And once we got arm bands for Joe Morrell I thought it was all alright!

‘But no, were we 3-0 up and it was fine.

‘Probably just before half-time the corners started to get a bit wet and with the way things have gone recently you start to think: ‘God, is anything going to go for us?’

‘But the ground staff are the man of the matches for being able to get that game on and for allowing us to finish the game.

‘I think once you get to 3-0 up, it would take a very, very brave referee to call a game off here at Fratton Park. I’m not sure you would get out alive.’

Cowley added he understood Johnson’s actions at half-time, admitting he would have done the same if he was staring defeat in the face.

‘Lee was doing his best (to get the game called off), but you can’t blame him for that either,’ he said.

‘If I’m honest, If I was in his position and 3-0 down I’d probably be asking the same questions.

‘But I thought we played the conditions on the day better than Sunderland did.

‘We’re very respectful of Sunderland, they’ve had an excellent start to the season and they’re a huge club, a huge resource with a fantastic squad, but we showed today what we’re capable of.’