Ten man Sunderland drew 2 – 2 with promotion rivals Peterborough United at the SOL on Tuesday evening in a feisty encounter. Sunderland had taken a deserved lead midway through the first half thanks to Josh Maja’s eighth goal of the season. However the game changed when Bryan Oviedo saw red for a petulant kick which put the lads on the back foot and allowed the visitors back into the game through Joe Ward. Jerome Sinclair thought he had won it late on with his first goal for the lads but Ivan Toney struck even later after another Sunderland defensive lapse to earn a share of the spoils.
Having suffered a number of injuries away to Coventry on Saturday lunch time Jack Ross was forced to shuffle his pack as Peterborough headed north to Wearside in Sunderland's biggest game of the season so far. As well as the injuries sustained to Hume, Gooch and Loovens, the gaffer was also missing Lee Cattermole who was serving a one game ban after collecting his fifth caution of the season.
The Scotsman made five changes to the side that drew 1 – 1 at the Ricoh Arena with Oviedo, Matthews, Power, McGeady and Sinclair replacing Hume, Loovens, Cattermole, Honeyman and Gooch. In the absence of Honeyman the side was skippered by Max Power.
It was a fairly scrappy and open start to the game in blustery conditions and the visitors had the first opening of the game but the shot was dragged wide and then the referee penalised them for a foul anyway. Sunderland responded and carved a decent opening when Matthews whipped a good ball to the back post for Sinclair but the right back took it off the head of the Sunderland front man.
Sunderland took the lead on twenty minutes and yet again Josh Maja was the man who found the net with another well taken goal. The in-form striker was found on the inside right hand side of the box and coolly cut inside and curled a crisp left foot shot into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. Immediately after the goal Max Power was booked for a foul before McGeady almost doubled the lead but he fired over after a storming run into the box.
At the other end McLaughlin was forced into a routine save low to his right but Sunderland were well on top at this stage of the game and Maja almost got in again, but the keeper got out quickly to smother the danger. McGeady had another good opportunity after half an hour when Matthews crossed into the box but his header was off target and it was a chance missed as he was under little pressure.
Five minutes later Sunderland had another chance after calamitous mix up between the Peterborough keeper and defence presented Sinclair with an open goal but a defender got round to clear the danger. Five minutes before half time Sunderland created another great chance with a fantastic passage of play involving McGeady and then Maja who cleverly teed up an opening for Sinclair but the on loan forwards finish was poor and miles off target. We had another effort on the stroke of half time when McGeady found space on the edge of the box but fired over meaning for all Sunderland's dominance we only held a one goal lead at the break.
The visitors made a double change at the break as they looked to get back into the game but there was an early stoppage as Flanagan received treatment for a knock to the head with him having to head to the changing room leaving Sunderland playing with ten men.
Flanagan emerged from the changing room a few minutes later and Sunderland had another chance when Maguire seized on a loose ball and drove into the box but missed the opportunity to shoot. At the other end Jon McLaughlin produced another outstanding save to tip a shot over the bar which looked destined for the top corner.
With half an hour remaining John McLaughlin made a another great save after Peterborough got in behind Sunderland’s backline with the Scot producing a strong hand to palm a shot away from goal. The visitors were having the better of the second half with Sunderland on the back foot and also on the receiving end of some poor refereeing decisions.
One decision the ref did get right was when Sunderland were reduced to ten men again at home with twenty minutes left on the clock after Oviedo was shown a red card for a ridiculous kick on the Peterborough right back. The Costa Rican aimed a petulant high kick on the defender’s midriff and the ref had no hesitation brandishing the red card.
The visitors capitalised on the man advantage quickly and drew level after a poor touch from Baldwin trying to clear a cross allowed Ward a sight of goal and he thundered a volley past McLaughlin. Sunderland retook the lead a few minutes later with Jerome Sinclair notching his first goal for the club after good work from Maguire on the right wing. Maguire did well to drill a low cross into the box and Sinclair on the turn held off his man and fired into the roof of the net.
In the aftermath of the goal it kicked off on the touchline between the two benches with the referee brandishing yellow cards to the coaches. The frantic nature of the game continued and the visitors drew level for a second time when Toney latched onto a ball over the top beating the offside trap and slotting past McLaughlin with Sunderland again looking suspect at the back.
There was six minutes of added time in which Kimpioka replaced Sinclair for his debut and while Sunderland piled on the pressure they couldn’t find a winner although there was enough time for the hapless referee to make a few more ridiculous decisions.
Final Score: Sunderland 2 Peterborough 2
ALS Man of the Match: Jerome Sinclair