Sunderland comfortably beat Doncaster Rovers two nil at the SOL on Good Friday as the lads remain in the fight for automatic promotion from League One. First half goals from Lewis Morgan and Charlie Wyke saw Jack Ross' side cruise past playoff hopefuls Rovers with Sunderland keeping pace with promotion rivals Barnsley and Portsmouth who both won earlier in the day.
After the calamitous defensive display on Saturday it was no surprise to see Jack Ross make changes especially at centre half. There were four changes in total with Ozturk, Dunne, Cattermole and McGeady replacing Flanagan, Baldwin, Leadbitter and Grigg. The bench also looked a bit healthier with both Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire returning from injury.
The lads got the game underway kicking towards the North Stand and immediately went on the front foot but Oviedo's deflected cross was gathered by the keeper. Five minutes into the game Sunderland took the lead with a fantastic goal from Lewis Morgan.
A cross from the left flank from Aiden McGeady picked out Charlie Wyke at the back post and he rose highest to nod down for Morgan on the edge of the box. The on loan Celtic winger then unleashed an unstoppable first time half volley into the top left hand corner leaving the Doncaster goalkeeper diving in vain. A minute later Sunderland went close again and again the danger came from McGeady but his cross into the six yard box over the head of the keeper was scrambled clear.
After fifteen minutes O’Nien tried an ambitious volley after Doncaster defence only half cleared Morgan’s cross. The stand in right back struck the ball well with the outside of his foot but the ball swerved off target and wide of the left hand post. Doncaster had their first venture forward after about twenty minutes but McLaughlin did well to cut out a cross before taking a whack which the ref gave us a free kick for.
On the half hour Sunderland doubled their lead with another well worked goal after a sustained spell of pressure. We forced a corner after Morgan had saw a shot deflected wide which Power and McGeady took short. McGeady dribbled into the box but the ball was cleared but only as far as Max Power who drove a cross back into the box which Dunne nodded goal wards. With the keeper beat by Dunne's touch Charlie Wyke struck from close range clipping the ball into an empty net rewarding Sunderland’s dominance.
Doncaster made a rare venture forward towards the end of the first half but their attack was snuffed out by Aiden McGeady tracking back which summed up a much better defensive display from Jack Ross' side. However there was a warning sign for the lads as the visitors went really close to nicking a goal back in the one minute of added time. Doncaster won a free kick on the edge of the box but Andrew’s left footed effort crashed off the post with McLaughlin beat.
Neither side made any changes at the break and we won an early corner after some good work from McGeady but Jimmy Dunne was penalised trying to get on the end of the cross. A minute later Sunderland went close again after Honeyman set Oviedo free down the left hand side with the Costa Rican surging into the box only to cut his shot just off target. McGeady was next to try an effort on goal but he fired over. The lads then had a great chance to score a third when Charlie Wyke did well to fashion a chance for himself just inside the box but the keeper did well to get down and palm away his low shot.
With 25 minutes remaining Lee Cattermole was booked for a late challenge on the half way line. The free kick was played in deep to the back post but McLaughlin dealt with it well although the Doncaster fans were after a penalty for a coming together in the box but the ref waved play on. Jack Ross made his first change of the game with 15 minutes remaining as Gooch replaced McGeady with the Irishman presumably being protected ahead of Monday’s game. Soon after Will Grigg followed Gooch onto the pitch at the expense of Charlie Wyke who left the pitch to a standing ovation.
There was a bit if a melee with five minutes remaining after Power was caught late after making a clearance. The midfielder wasn't happy at all with the challenge and leapt off his feet to get at the left back Andrew who had made the challenge with Andrew eventually booked by the ref. As Sunderland looked to see out the game professionally for the final few minutes Jack Ross made his final change as Grant Leadbitter replaced Max Power.
The fourth official signalled four minutes of injury time and Doncaster had an effort on goal in the first minute of it after winning a free kick outside the box but it was curled well wide of the post. At the other end after stringing a few passes together prompting ole chants from the crowd Will Grigg had a sight of goal but his shot was deflected wide for a corner. We took it short and kept it in the corner before the ref blew for full time.
Final Score: Sunderland 2 Doncaster Rovers 0
ALS Man of the Match: Charlie Wyke