After drawing at the death against Fleetwood, Posh’ already-slim playoff hopes became even slimmer as Ashley Hunter’s volley dashed a chance to cut the gap to three points (Donny losing 2-0 away at Posh’ opponents this Easter Monday) and made four wins from four unachievable.
But, to say that our playoff chances have been dashed considering our hopeless performances against Coventry and Bradford to name a few, it is a real testament to Darren Ferguson – for the way he hasn’t given up hope, when many had (myself included).
So, with Sunderland travelling down to London Road, this match could be last chance saloon for Posh as, if they lose, and Doncaster win at home versus Accrington on Tuesday night – that gap in points means the faint dreams will be over completely. Therefore, I thought I’d preview this huge clash.
This game on Easter Monday is also a big one for Jack Ross’ Black Cats – second place in the league still very much up for grabs as Portsmouth, Sunderland and Barnsley play battle for that automatic promotion spot – therefore, it won’t be as if Posh are playing a side coasting into next season, they will want to win in order to stake a claim for 2nd spot. Furthermore, as Ross’ side are draw specialists, with 17 draws this season, Posh will have to not settle for one point as only three will do here. But, they are beatable.
When you cast your eye to their home match before last – Coventry strolled into the Stadium of Light and shocked Ross’ men, a 5-4 away win at an otherwise fortress this season shows to Posh they are beatable if you really go for the match and don’t become intimidated by the stature of Sunderland. If you treat them like an ex-Premier League side, they will play like one and show their true capabilities. If you go, and get in their faces and play exciting football, you can get rewarded, as Coventry did.
Sunderland are a different kettle of fish in comparison – not only in league position, but also in prestige
Posh’ recent home form is also encouraging – picking up maximum points against Gillingham and Southend in comfortable victories. But, although The Gills made the match competitive, Sunderland are a different kettle of fish in comparison – not only in league position, but also in prestige. Likewise, Fergie’s side don’t exactly boast a favourable record at home versus the top sides this season – the anomaly coming in a 3-1 home victory against Luton, but that was before their meteoric rise to the top. Barnsley came and demolished Posh in a 4-0 car-crash, Portsmouth battled to a slim 2-1 win and Doncaster drew at London Road. So, if form is anything to go by, Posh will have to buck a trend.
But, as it’s a win or bust scenario, Posh might actually pull off a surprise 3 points. Moreover, those poor performances against top sides came under the previous tenure of Evans and Raynor – it might be that Fergie’s tactical differences (playing passing football) might unnerve The Black Cats. If they don’t go against this form, as already discussed, that’s the season all but over. Yet, with positivity around the club, I wouldn’t rule out a shock, playoff continuing win tomorrow afternoon. And, if Jesus can resurrect from the dead, so can Posh’ chances of finishing 6th and clinching a holy promotion!