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Defeat keeps Black Cats in trouble
Published : 18 May 2009 21:53:00
Sunderland's bid for Barclays Premier League survival will go to the wire after two defensive howlers allowed Portsmouth to snatch a 3-1 victory at Fratton Park. The Black Cats could have secured their top flight status with a win and they took the lead with a 59th minute strike from Kenwyne Jones. But Portsmouth then scored twice inside seven minutes through John Utaka and Phil Bardsley's own-goal after a dreadful gaffe from Anton Ferdinand. Portsmouth wrapped up the victory three minutes from time after Armand Traore was allowed acres of space to angle his shot inside the far post. The only consolation for Sunderland ahead of next Sunday's final league game at home to Chelsea is that their top-flight future remains in their own hands. Sunderland remain a point better off than Hull, who host Manchester United, and two ahead of local rivals Newcastle. Portsmouth set the early pace and Peter Crouch saw his header rebound off the inside of the post and roll along the goal-line before Ferdinand slid in to clear. Sunderland almost snatched a priceless half-time lead after Jones' downward glancing header struck the inside of the post and rolled across the goal-line. The match lit up after 59 minutes when Jones provided the finishing touch after a swift counter-attack. But at the other end, Utaka turned and rifled home his first goal of the season to level matters. And seven minutes later Sunderland were behind after a howler from Ferdinand, who completely missed a routine long ball and allowed Utaka to steal into the box again. Utaka dragged the ball past Marton Fulop and although full-back Bardsley did his best with a flying challenge he only succeeded in turning the ball into his own net. And Portsmouth wrapped up the win with three minutes remaining when Traore finished clinically.