Portsmouth 4-0 Sunderland AFC
A tough afternoon in torrential conditions at Fratton Park saw Sunderland suffer their second defeat of the season at Portsmouth.
Marcus Harness struck the opener after 19 minutes, followed soon by Lee Brown’s second. John Marquis netted either side of half-time to stretch Pompey’s lead further.
The positive spark for Sunderland was an away following of 2,110 excellent supporters, who made the 676-mile-round trip to Fratton Park.
Lee Johnson handed Leon Dajaku his first league start on the South Coast, with Aiden O’Brien also retaining a starting place whilst Dennis Cirkin returned from a head injury.
Portsmouth began brightly with a high intensity pressing gameplan, but had not tested Thorben Hoffmann in the opening stages.
But when an opportunity did arrive for the hosts, they took it clinically after 19 minutes when Harness received the ball from the left-hand side and fired into the bottom corner.
The Lads attempted numerous breaks forward throughout the first half with the conditions proving an obstacle, though two Luke O’Nien free-kicks came and went for Johnson’s side.
Pompey doubled the lead 34 minutes in from a similar area inside the penalty box, as Brown slotted into the far corner to make the Sunderland task all the more complicated.
And it was three on the stroke of half-time when Marquis flicked past Hoffmann from a free-kick on the left flank.
The torrential rain continued through the break, severely impacting the run of the ball, particularly in the four corners of the pitch.
Portsmouth then made it four after the interval when Marquis’ close-range header was kept out well by Hoffmann, but the striker tapped in the rebound.
A blocked Corry Evans volley from outside the area and a Cirkin strike just wide were the closest Sunderland came to a consolation, as the Lads now look to quickly recover at Lincoln City in Tuesday’s Papa John’s Trophy group opener.
SUNDERLAND AFC: Hoffmann; Winchester, Wright, Flanagan, Cirkin; Evans © (Neil 74’), O’Nien; Dajaku (Pritchard 68’), Embleton (Doyle 46’), O’Brien; Stewart.
Subs not used: Burge, Huggins, Alves, Taylor.
Portsmouth: Bazunu, Brown ©, Williams, Tunnicliffe, Marquis (Harrison 85’), Harness (Thompson 74’), Curtis, Freeman, Romeo, Raggett, Morrell.
Subs not used: Bass, Hackett, Hirst, Jacobs, Downing.
Attendance: 17,418 (2,110 SAFC supporters)