EFL Reporter @simgholam
Sunderland 2-1 Portsmouth: Chris Maguire hits winner as Black Cats come from behind
Marcus Harness puts Portsmouth ahead at Stadium of Light, but Sunderland hit back with goals from Jordan Willis and Chris Maguire
Last Updated: 17/08/19 5:41pm
Sunderland earned their first Sky Bet League One victory of the season as they came from behind to beat Portsmouth 2-1 on Saturday.
Marcus Harness opened the scoring midway through the first half at the Stadium of Light, but the Black Cats struck back before the break with goals from Jordan Willis and Chris Maguire to turn things around.
The result helped ease some of the pressure on boss Jack Ross, who saw his side come from behind to earn points for the third time in as many games, although this time they took all three points rather than having to settle for a draw.
For Portsmouth, meanwhile, it is now two defeats in three games in what has been an indifferent start to their own campaign as they push for promotion.
This was the sixth meeting between these two sides in under a year, with the latest coming across two legs in the play-off semi-finals in May, from which Sunderland prevailed, but ultimately lost to Charlton in the final.
There were two changes for Sunderland from their midweek 3-1 win at Accrington in the Carabao Cup as Jon McLaughlin returned in goal and Aidan McGeady started up front.
For Portsmouth there was just one change from their win over Tranmere last Saturday as John Marquis came in up front for Ellis Harrison.
There were only three shots on target in the first half but all of them resulted in a goal. First it was Pompey who took the lead through Harness after 22 minutes, who was put through on goal inadvertently by a ricochet off a Sunderland defender, before pouncing again on John Marquis' fluffed strike to fire home from close range.
Five minutes later Sunderland equalised from a corner as Willis rose highest to head in a Grant Leadbitter corner, and after 39 minutes they led, with Maguire slotting after Aiden McGeady had fired the ball across the six-yard box and into his path.
Sunderland: J McLaughlin (7), C McLaughlin (7), Willis (8), Ozturk (6), O'Nien (6), Leadbitter (6), Power (6), Maguire (8), Gooch (6), McGeady (7), McNulty (5)
Subs: Wyke (6), Grigg (n/a), Hume (n/a)
Portsmouth: MacGillivray (6), Walkes (5), Downing (5), Burgess (5), Brown (5), Naylor (6), Cannon (6), Close (6), Harness (7), Marquis (6), Curtis (5)
Subs: Evans (n/a), Harrison (n/a), McCrorie (6)
Man of the match: Jordan Willis
Portsmouth pushed at times for an equaliser in the second half, but they closest they came was when Leadbitter nearly headed past his own goalkeeper with 10 minutes to go, with Jon McLaughlin producing a fine reaction save to keep him out.
Man of the Match - Jordan Willis
It was a towering display in both boxes from Willis. The defender's excellent header hauled his side back into the game and then, at the other end, he repelled everything that was thrown at him by Portsmouth in the second half.
Jack Ross: "For me it was just three points in the quest to achieve promotion. It's just three games into the season. I have said often enough about the pressure and expectancy on us to win every game, so the build-up was no different for me. It (the pressure) is omnipresent - it never goes away. Whether you have won five games in a row or lost five games in a row, it never really changes.
"In terms of how you use it, you have to make peace with it first and foremost. If you don't want to feel big pressure, don't manage a big club - but then you don't get the rewards of managing a big club, leading a team in this stadium in front of these supporters. You can't have one without the other."
Kenny Jackett: "From our point of view there's a lot we can base today's performance on going forward, we have lost a game and we have to recognise why.
"We're not happy with two defeats away. They've been unusual games because we've been on top for both of them. There were games last season where it was the other way and we had 30, 40% of the game but managed to win it. It was a little of a reverse."
Both sides are back in Sky Bet League One action on Tuesday night. Sunderland head to Rochdale and Portsmouth host Coventry.