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Fixture News

Kenny's Christmas Cheer

Boss delighted with victory over Sunderland

22 December 2018

Kenny Jackett speaks to Tom Naylor
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

It was a result that ensured plenty of Christmas cheer around Fratton Park.

A sold-out clash with fellow promotion hopefuls Sunderland was always likely to be an entertaining affair and the contest certainly lived up to its billing.

All of the key moments took place in the second half, with Gareth Evans opening the scoring from the spot after Glenn Loovens had been dismissed for a foul on Oli Hawkins.

Ronan Curtis added a second and after Luke O’Nien reduced the Black Cats’ deficit, Ben Thompson wrapped things up for the hosts.

It was a result that delighted Kenny Jackett, who has guided his side to a half-century of points at the midway point of the season.

The Blues boss said: “It was a really good performance, particularly in the second half. We upped the tempo and got the goals that secured the win.

“Before the break it was quite cagey and there weren’t too many chances, although there was a big save from our keeper.

"We’ve got 50 points before Christmas which is a fantastic achievement by the players and shows great consistency."

Kenny Jackett

“But, overall, I felt it was two very good teams going at each other and we didn’t want to leave anything out on the pitch.

“I don’t think the referee had any other choice for the penalty and Gareth took it fantastically to give us the lead.

“We went further ahead and then their lad got the other side of Ronan, who was otherwise excellent, to score.

“But we had many chances throughout the half and could have got even more, so the result was thoroughly deserved.

“We’ve got 50 points before Christmas which is a fantastic achievement by the players and shows great consistency.

“We didn’t seem to have any injuries and hopefully everyone’s good, so now we’re looking forward to Boxing Day.”

There was a pulsating atmosphere on the south coast for a clash between the sides sitting first and third in the League One standings.

Jackett said: “It was a big game because of the size of the two clubs and how well they’re both doing in the division.

“The fans were fantastic and created an excellent atmosphere that really helped to drive the players on.”

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