Pompey find a pulse
Pompey overcame the resistance from the North East to march on towards the fifth round, our club is supposedly terminal with the life support machine flickering, but the team found the energy and drive to at least give all the waiting patients a glimmer of a miracle cure.
The march to Fratton had a few more present this time, the week's events had done little to convince fans that this was to be 'a week to remember'.
Pompey's team was not as decimated as we were lead to beleive, no James of course, but Begovic was fit, Kaboul was there, as were 'Celtic bound' Wilson and Utaka, Boateng had shaken off his calf injury and also made the 11.
Brown lasted only 5 minutes and had to depart with what looked like a dead leg, Basinas replaced him to at least give Pompey a more composed look in the centre.
The air of gloom and despondency had obviously got to the players, as Sunderland broke the status quo after only 15 minutes, iot was a simple goal that would have had the coaching staff cursing, a throw was flicked on and landed on the foot of dangerman Bent, he volleyed home and Pompey were up against it once more.
The half slipped into a series of misplaced passes, both teams as bad as each other, if Pompey have problems on the pitch, Sunderland were doing their damndest to match them.
Pompey had a shout for a spot-kick on 35, Da Silva appearing to handball from Boateng, but the ref was having none of it.
As the half ticked by, Sunderland had not being seriously threatened, but Pompey were about to be lifted by a man who was much maligned by most, both for recent effort and his supposed wages, Marc Wilson floated a long one in, and Utaka got in front of Bardsley and flicked past an out of position Gordon, the ball barely bobbled over the line, but the Otter had scored!
Basinas almost found Utaka again, but this time he was denied.
Half-time arrived and the mood had lifted, Pompey were competing and this in turn transpired to the fans who were appreciating the team trying to prove the critics wrong.
Utaka was a man on a mission, he killed a pass from Basinas and a flash of quick feet saw him strike at goal, Gordon doing well to turn his effort away.
Pompey had their backs up and Utaka was on hand to score once more, his goal was reminiscent of when he first arrived at the club, he outpaced the Sunderland defence before slotting past Gordon, if he is to leave shortly, he has found his form at the wrong time!!
Pompey were dominating preceedings now, Gordon was a busy man, saving from Piquionne and Boateng as Pompey pressed for a killer third, Basinas was the man in the middle acting puppetmaster.
Sunderland finally decided to press for an equaliser with the minutes ticking away, Begovic showing his class by tipping over Bent's powerful strike.
With a minute to go, Sunderland thought they had equalised, Boateng hacking off the line, the Cats thought it was over, but the ref was on Pompey's side and it was clearly a difficult call.
The whistle went and we were through once more, points in the league are obviously priority, but the cup is a welcome distraction whatever the cynics may say, and Poimpey have a love for it.