Perhaps fittingly, it was John Utaka, with his reported £80,000-a-week pay packet that says everything about the financial mismanagement of the club, who provided the goals.
Utaka said: 'The FA Cup is still a magic competition. For me, it is just as important as the League, and hopefully this win will also help us to start climbing the table because I believe we don't deserve to be where we are.'
Jumping for joy: Utaka celebrates in style after his goals against the Black Cats
But if this victory highlighted the Portsmouth players' resilience, it was a damning indictment on the state of Sunderland's current fortunes. Manager Steve Bruce described his side's defending as 'schoolboy stuff'.
Utaka was able to hold off the Sunderland defence to head Marc Wilson's ball over Craig Gordon for Portsmouth's equaliser after Darren Bent had put the visitors ahead.
Then the Nigerian latched on to a headed clearance from Younes Kaboul to fire Portsmouth into the fifth round.
Bruce said: 'The goals conceded simply aren't good enough at this level.'
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