Richardson pounces for Black Cats
Sunderland 2-0 Portsmouth: Two goals from Kieran Richardson boosted Sunderland's Premier League survival hopes and added to Portsmouth's recent woes today.
The Black Cats won 2-0 at the Stadium of Light, a result which may have left Pompey boss Harry Redknapp regretting his decision to turn down the chance to manage Sunderland's local rivals Newcastle.
Portsmouth enjoyed the better of the early stages but fell behind in the 33rd minute to Richardson's first goal.
He produced a cool finish after fine battling work from Kenwyne Jones, who kept the ball in play before cutting it back into the England midfielder's path.
The lead was doubled just before the break with another excellent finish from Richardson, who raced into the box and fired a shot beyond David James.
After the break, Portsmouth wasted a great chance to reduce the deficit when Benjani passed up a good opportunity.
Following a swift break he found himself in on goal but was caught in two minds about whether to shoot or pass to David Nugent. In the end he tried the later but simply found a defender instead.
Moments later Richardson was denied his hat-trick as his piledriver came back off the bar.
However, Sunderland had already done enough to move level on points with drop rivals Wigan, Birmingham and Bolton, although they do remain in the bottom three on goal difference.
Portsmouth's European bid continues to founder. They are now five points behind fifth-placed Everton, who currently occupy the UEFA Cup qualification slot.