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Sunderland manager, Jack Ross.
Sunderland manager, Jack Ross.
Image: Adam Davy

Sunderland reach League One play-off final after hard-fought draw with Portsmouth

It finished scoreless at Fratton Park this evening, meaning the Black Cats progressed on a 1-0 aggregate scoreline.
May 16th 2019, 10:36 PM 7,480 7

SUNDERLAND HAVE TAKEN a massive step on the road back to the English top flight after securing a League One play-off final berth following tonight’s scoreless draw with Portsmouth.

The result means Jack Ross’ side progress at the expense of their rivals on a 1-0 aggregate scoreline.

Chris Maguire’s first-leg volley proved to be the difference on a tense and fractious night at Fratton Park.

Sunderland, who were last year relegated from the Championship, exacted some revenge on Pompey after their Checkatrade Trophy final defeat at Wembley Stadium in March.

The Black Cats will now face either Charlton Athletic or Doncaster Rovers in the final on 26 May.

“I think we’ve rekindled that relationship this season between the supporters and different facets of the club,” Ross told Sky Sports after tonight’s game.

“I think they recognise that there’s a squad and a group of players who reflect how they feel about the club. They’ve played with a drive and a passion.

They’ve not always played brilliantly and they’ve not always won games, but they’ve always had that commitment. That’s what the fans want.

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“That’s what we’ve seen in the numbers that have followed us. I’m glad now they have another big game to look forward to.”

Sunderland have amassed the fewest defeats in the league this season and finished fifth inside the play-off spots with a total of 85 points.

This will be the second trip to Wembley in Ross’ first full season in charge, welcome news for supporters who have endured back-to-back relegations since 2017.

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