Sunderland went into this game hoping to start well. The hosts managed to do just that, as a good corner from Grant Leadbitter lead to Lee Cattermole tap in after four minutes. This lead quickly evaporated however, as some woeful defending left Tom Eaves facing an open goal only a minute after the lads took the lead. The fast-paced start to the game continued as yet another great corner delivery from Leadbitter was met by Tom Flanagan, 2-1, advantage Sunderland. The Mackems also let this lead slip, as some more lacklustre defending allowed Brandon Hanlan to equalise. Will Grigg fired the lads ahead again in the second half from the penalty spot, notching his first in red and white, then Aiden McGeady converted a second penalty to calm our nerves.
Jon McLaughlin (6/10): Couldn’t do much about either goal but didn’t seem his usual self.
Luke O’Nien (8/10): Did very well on the right-hand side. Solid defensively, and put a few crosses in. Won two penalties to boot.
Tom Flanagan (6/10): Assured performance from the former Burton man. Rose well for his goal too.
Jimmy Dunne (5/10): Panicky at times, and often made the wrong passing decision. Hopefully he improves with more game time.
Reece James (7/10): Worked hard throughout the game and was busy going forward.
Grant Leadbitter (8/10): Controlled the tempo from midfield and worked hard for the team. He got two assists from brilliant corners and seems a cut above this level.
Lee Cattermole (8/10): Catts paired well with Leadbitter and the duo seem to have great chemistry. A great all-round performance from the veteran.
George Honeyman (7/10): Energetic and busy as usual. A few bright moments from the captain.
Chris Maguire (6/10): A bright start was cut short after 15 minutes, as injury put an end to Maguire’s evening.
Aiden McGeady (7/10): The winger was back to his best today. Well taken penalty to finish the game.
Will Grigg (7/10): Didn’t have much service yet again but was lively and took his penalty well.
Lynden Gooch (6/10): Energetic but not much end product from Gooch.
Dylan McGeouch (6/10): Nice to see Jack Ross remember who he is. Calmed things down.
Max Power (5/10): Wasn’t on long enough to influence.