Chris Maguire's play-off message as Sunderland forward reacts to stunning strike against Portsmouth

Sunderland's Chris Maguire was determined to make an impact after coming off the bench against Portsmouth on Saturday night - but insists the job is only half done.

By Joe Nicholson
Sunday, 12th May 2019, 7:56 am
Chris Maguire scored the only goal of the game against Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light.
Chris Maguire scored the only goal of the game against Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light.

The 30-year-old forward scored the only goal of the game with a stunning volley on 62 minutes at the Stadium of Light, as the Black Cats secured a 1-0 win over the Blues in the first leg of their League One play-off semi-final.

After starting Sunderland's last two league games, Maguire, who has recently returned after fracturing his fibula, was understandably disappointed not to make the starting XI.

But, following an injury to Aiden McGeady in the warm-up, Maguire was called upon to replace Lewis Morgan in the 58th minute, and was delighted to take his chance.

When asked how disappointed he was not to start, Maguire told Sky Sports: "I was disappointed, but that is the real depth we have in the squad.

"Everybody has got to take their turn, but I knew when my chance came I would have to try and take it, and I think I have done that. But we are only halfway there, but it is still a step in the right direction."

On his goal, Maguire added: "The ball was just put in the box and I tried to read it, a bit of an anticipation that the defender wasn’t going to clear it, thankfully it came and I hit it sweet and it went in. It’s gave us a vital win we needed."

The sides will meet again for the second leg at Fratton Park on Thursday night, a match which will mark the fifth meeting between Sunderland and Pompey this season.

And Maguire has warned his team-mate there's still work to do, and the forward is expecting a tough battle on the the south coast.

"Look it is a battle of who wants it and both teams want it," he added.

"We have played each other numerous times now. We felt we owed them one. But like I say, it is half-way done. A right step in the right direction, so we go to their place full of confidence. But it is up to us."

Sunderland will probably have to cope without defender Alim Ozturk after the defender was shown a straight red card for a foul on Pompey's Gareth Evans midway through the second half - a decision the Black Cats will appeal.

Fellow defender Jimmy Dunne was brought on to shore things up for Sunderland after the dismissal and was relieved to hang onto a clean sheet.

"It is more concentration than anything when you have to come on," said Dunne.

"It is not easy in the last bits of the game where concentration levels can be low as people are tired. But I was just happy to be a part of getting half the job done and now we can go there place and see what we can do.

On Ozturk's red card, he added: "It shouldn’t have been a red card. There was other players crowded around the ball when it happened. So I think Alim was really unlucky, but these things happen."