Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett is ruing his side’s failure to take their chances in the League One play-off semi-final defeat to Sunderland, highlighting Black Cats goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin as the difference maker, speaking to The News.
Two months after Pompey beat Sunderland in the Checkatrade Trophy final, Jack Ross’ side exacted their revenge over two legs with a place at Wembley in their sights.
Chris Maguire’s wonderful volley gave Sunderland a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light and they held on to reach the play-off final with a 0-0 draw at Fratton Park on Thursday night.
Things could have been very different, however, if it wasn’t for 31-year-old shot-stopper McLaughlin. At least, that is what Jackett thinks.
“There were some big moments, great saves from their keeper,” the former Wolves and Rotherham United coach told The News.
“There was when Gareth Evans was through, he is an excellent finisher, and Matt Clarke hit the bar from the resulting header. Those key moments produced great saves from their keeper.”
As well as denying Evans with a fine reflex save, McLaughlin also prevented James Vaughan from levelling the tie with another terrific stop.
The former Scotland international joined Sunderland on a free from Hearts last summer and he already looks like one of their best signings of the last few years.
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