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Sunday 18 May 2014

On this day in 2009: Pompey beat Black Cats to stay up

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall a crucial win for Pompey at Fratton Park

  • Two goals from John Utaka helped Portsmouth secure a win that guaranteed safety

  • Kenwyne Jones had initially put Sunderland ahead at Fratton Park, but Pompey rallied

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

18 May 2009 - Portsmouth 3-1 Sunderland

Portsmouth secured their Barclays Premier League place for another season after hitting back to beat relegation rivals Sunderland.

Pompey went into the match four points above the bottom three, and two points better off than Sunderland, with only one more fixture to play after this one.

And despite falling behind early in the second half, Portsmouth roared back to score three times in just under half an hour. It was their first victory and first goals for five matches.

The victory lifted Pompey seven points above the relegation zone but left Sunderland just two points clear going into the final fixtures and on a run of only one win in 12 outings.

“That was an afternoon of relief,” said Portsmouth caretaker manager Paul Hart. “We have another year in the Premier League and that is what I set out to achieve.”

The hosts came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when Peter Crouch headed against the post and then watched on as the ball dribbled along the goalline before being cleared by Anton Ferdinand.

Kenwyne Jones then had similar misfortune to Crouch at the other end as he also headed against a post and saw the ball rebound away from danger.

Pompey dominated the early part of the second half but they then fell behind in the 59th minute when Jones tucked home a cross from Calum Davenport at the far post. It was his 10th Premier League goal of the season.

Portsmouth equalised within a minute when a long ball diverted off Sunderland’s Grant Leadbitter into the path of John Utaka, who beat goalkeeper Marton Fulop.

The hosts had the momentum and they took the lead in the 68th minute when a long kick by goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, making his debut for the club, was not properly cleared by Ferdinand. Utaka capitalised and rounded Fulop before a challenge on him by Phil Bardsley resulted in the Sunderland defender bundling the ball into his own net.

Utaka was involved again as Portsmouth wrapped up the points in the 88th minute as he released substitute Armand Traore, who scored his first goal for the club with an angled shot.

The result meant that Sunderland needed to win their final match against Chelsea to guarantee their safety.

Although they were beaten 3-2, defeats for Hull City (1-0 against Manchester United) and Newcastle United (1-0 at Aston Villa) saved them and meant that the Magpies were the final team to be relegated.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember when Portsmouth ensured their Barclays Premier League safety with a win over Sunderland