Portsmouth vs Sunderland predictions and betting tips for this crucial second leg of the League One play-off semi-finals on Thursday 16th May. Sunderland picked up an unlikely clean sheet in the first leg of this fixture, and Kenny Jackett’s men must find a way of rescuing this tie. They will have a vociferous Fratton Park crowd behind them, but will that be enough?
Portsmouth have only lost four times at Fratton Park this season
Pompey beat Sunderland 3-1 here back on December 22nd
Sunderland have won just two of their last seven games on the road
Kick Off Time: 19:45pm
Date: Thursday 16th May, 2019
Venue: Fratton Park
Sunderland’s defence has been a constant source of frustration for their long-suffering fans this season, but it somehow held firm in the first leg, and as a result, they bring a 1-0 advantage into this tie. Jack Ross’ side were dealt a blow with the news that Aidan McGeady wasn’t fit enough to feature, but the brilliance of Chris Maguire made amends, and his goal proved to be the difference.
Pompey, who have been ever-so-reliable on the road this season weren’t able to find a way through display creating several chances late in the game. It was a frustrating evening for Kenny Jackett, and his side, but they will be buoyed by Sunderland’s recent below-par away form.
This is a big chance for Pompey to make it back to Wembley, and get within 90 minutes of returning to Championship football. They cannot afford to be quite so profligate. Following Ozturk’s dismissal, Gareth Evans hit the woodwork, and they must ensure that they are clinical here.
Pompey’s recent form is not fantastic, but Sunderland also ended the campaign with a whimper. Both sides have players who are perfectly capable of winning this game, but it depends which of them bother to turn up.
Jackett’s men were 3-1 winners when they met earlier in the campaign, and they also were triumphant on penalties in the Check-a-Trade.
Sunderland’s form away from the Stadium of Light is a concern, and their late defeats to Southend and Fleetwood does suggest that concentration could be an issue during the closing stages. Pompey should win this game inside 90 minutes, but they may have to be patient.
Portsmouth to Win is the first of our League One betting tips for Thursdays game, and they are a standout price of 27/20 with Coral. New customers can use their £20 free bet to back the hosts.
Portsmouth have a number of strikers, and Kenny Jackett regularly opts to rotate his frontline. Omar Bogle came closest to finding an equaliser for Pompey on Saturday, and they’ll want to see a higher percentage of chances created this time around.
The South Coast club also score a number of goals from midfield and wide positions. As mentioned, Gareth Evans was unlucky not to find the back of the net, and he is a decent price to find his luck from range in this fixture.
Ben Close didn’t strike gold for us in the first leg, but it’s probably worth sticking with the young midfielder here. He’s found the net in each of Pompey’s last two home fixtures, and his position allows him to drift in (occasionally unmarked) to the area late.
He’s scored four times in his last six home matches in League One, and could be a danger at a big price.
Read More: Fancy some goals? See today’s best Both Teams to Score tips
Pompey couldn’t find a way past Sunderland at the weekend, but they will have to start with real purpose here. They need to be on the front foot from the off. The first leg was a slow and ponderous affair at times, and the neutrals will be expecting a more lively 90 minutes here.
Pompey’s defence has been praised this season, and Matt Clarke has been excellent, but they did concede sloppy goals to both Accrington and Southend at the end of the regular season, and they will come under fire from Sunderland’s talented XI.
I think the clean sheet was largely an anomaly, and I think we will be able to get back to the reasonably high-scoring norm here.
Portsmouth Win – 5/4
Draw – 11/5
Sunderland Win – 9/4
Odds from William Hill