Middlesbrough 0-0 Sunderland: It was lights out as Sunderland end their pre-season 45 minutes short.
Sunderland’s pre-season came to a close as the weather dealt the final blow. The game was abandoned minutes before the second half was due to restart. Lightning caused a power cut and put a stop to what was a promising 45 from the away side.
Sunderland made the short journey down the A19 to Middlesbrough as the Black Cats played out their final preseason game. Jack Ross threw in latest signing Jerome Sinclair who lined up in an attacking trio with Josh Maja and Lynden Gooch. Glen Loovens, like Sinclair, made his debut after making his move from Sheffield Wednesday.
What was apparent from the team news was, there was no Lee Cattermole in the squad, which you can argue isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Whether he’s injured or isn’t in Ross’s plans is yet to be seen. The full line up was as follows: McLaughlin, Love, Flanagan, Loovens, Matthews, Mumba, McGeouch, Honeyman, Gooch, Maja, Sinclair
Middlesbrough lined up with a few familiar faces, Paddy McNair playing against his former club after making the move last month for around the £5 million mark. Former Sunderland players Ashley Fletcher and Grant Leadbitter were on the Boro bench. They lined up like this: Randolph, Shotton, Flint, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, McNair, Howson, Adama, Downing, Assombalonga.
If you dare cast your mind back, to let’s be kind and say eventful season, the lads managed to pick up a point at home thanks to a Callum McMananaman injury time equalizer as it ended 3-3. However, in the previous two fixtures, last season Sunderland were beaten by Boro in both the FA Cup and the Championship.
Lynden Gooch coming off a fine performance against St Mirren was looking to add to the two goals he notched north of the border. Along with Josh Maja assert his place in the starting line-up going into the opening League One fixture against Charlton.
Sunderland, wearing their new all black away kit, got the game under way starting in a 4-2-3-1 system with Bali Mumba and McGeouch at the base of the midfield. Worth mentioning the away support and fair play to the 1000 Sunderland fans who made short journey south.
12 minutes in Middlesbrough were the first to press forward with Adama Traore, who has been recently been linked with a move to Wolves. After beating three Sunderland defenders Traore cut inside and from eight yards out crashed a shot off the top of the cross bar. The first warning sign from Boro, as they began to show their quality.
Worrying for Jack Ross, on 19 minutes Dylan McGeouch was forced off with an injury, which doesn’t come at a great time with just over a week until Sunderland’s opening league game. Alim Ozturk replaced the midfielder with Tom Flanagan moving into midfield.
To the relief of Adam Matthews, Adama Traore was also forced off minutes after McGeouch was brought off., with a potential shoulder injury.
27 minutes in and Sunderland had their best chance of the game. Maja smartly played a one-two with Sinclair. The latter forced Darren Randolph into a smart save. The former West Ham keeper knocked it past the post with his outstretched foot.
Just after the half hour mark, Sunderland were much the more positive side. McLaughlin launched a counter attack when he booted it up to Lynden Gooch, who cut inside and fired towards goal. However, Randolph denied the American’s effort with a fine fingertip save.
Jack Ross will have no doubt been delighted with his side’s work it was his side who were doing the pressing. In particular: Loovens, Flanagan and Gooch were all playing well.
with less than 5-minutes left in the half, Middlesbrough, began to re-assert themselves in the game. Paddy McNair found a route to goal via a deflection, but McLaughlin charged out and saved with his feet. The Scot was impressive in his quickness in reading the situation.
Sunderland came so close to taking the lead with seconds left in the half, after some initial good work from Bali Mumba and Sinclair. Maja shifted it onto his left foot and his deflected effort was tipped onto the post by Randolph.
The second half was delayed due to horrendous weather, lightning even struck the stadium causing a power outage. The players were sent out, but quickly recalled back as the flood lights went out. Minutes later on the big screen it was announced that the game had been abandoned.
Jack Ross will have been very impressed with all the squad, he’ll no doubt be annoyed that with the last pre-season fixture couldn’t get 90 minutes under the players belts. Well, that just about it for my first match report for ALS, wonder if they’ll all end in a bang.
Final Score: 0-0
ALS Man of the Match: The Lightning