Sunderland slipped out of the Carabao Cup in the first round losing 2-0 to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday at the SOL on Tuesday evening. Despite some promising football at times, Sunderland were undone after a horrific defensive error by Alim Ozturk allowed Marco Matias to open the scoring in the first half before Adam Reach doubled Wednesday's lead ten minutes from time.
As expected Jack Ross made several changes from Saturday’s draw at Luton with James, Hume, Ozturk, Cattermole, O'Nien and Embleton all starting. Out went Matthews, Oviedo, Loovens, Mumba, Maja and Gooch whilst for the opposition former Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher led the line for the owls.
Sunderland had the first effort of sorts inside five minutes when Maguire cut back onto his right foot and drove from range but his shot was charged down on the edge of the box. Soon after Maguire tried an audacious effort from the halfway line trying to catch the keeper off his line but it was way off target.
The lads continued to be the better side in the opening stages pressing hard on the Sheffield Wednesday defence and getting into some decent positions on the flanks although Sunderland were wasteful in the final third. We forged a good chance when Embleton was played in on goal with a clever reverse pass by Hume but Embleton clipped his shot wide of the mark. At the other end McLaughlin was forced into a save after Fletcher nodded the ball into the path of Matias who hit a decent shot goalwards.
After being the better side for the opening half hour Sunderland fell behind after some calamitous defending from Ozturk. A long ball over the top from the keeper was flicked on by Steven Fletcher and Ozturk dawdled allowing Matias to nip round him and stab the ball into the bottom corner past McLaughlin.
The goal took the wind out of Sunderland's sails slightly with the visitors enjoying their best spell in the game towards the end of the first half although Sunderland almost equalised on the stroke of half time. A well worked move down the left saw James run into the box and cross for O'Nien on the edge of the six yard box but his shot was scrambled over.
Sheffield Wednesday made one change at the break with Hunt replaced in the midfield by Connor Kirby. The visitors started the second half quicker breaking quickly down the left through Reach who crossed towards Fletcher who forced McLaughlin into a save with a looping header. Sunderland responded well with Honeyman winning a free kick on the left wing after being held back after giving two defenders the slip.
Maguire took the set piece which was headed clear only as far as Honeyman on the edge of the box. The Sunderland skipper struck a decent volley towards goal but it was headed behind for a corner. At the other end Baldwin had to clear off the line from Matias after a poor defensive header from Ozturk caused Sunderland needless problems.
With half an hour remaining John McLaughlin made a decent stop to deny Adam Reach doubling the visitors lead after the forward sprung the offside trap. Jack Ross had seen enough by this point and made his first change of the game with Lynden Gooch replacing Elliot Embleton. Gooch was soon followed onto the pitch by Josh Maja who replaced Lee Cattermole.
Sunderland had a penalty shout with twenty minutes left on the clock after Gooch's cross appeared to be handled by Matias but the ref waved away the protests. A short corner soon after from Gooch eventually came to Honeyman on the edge of the box who cleverly created space with a dummy before blasting a shot way off target.
With ten minutes left to play the visitors sealed the tie from a short corner which was conceded from a sliced clearance from Ozturk. Adam Reach found the bottom corner of the net with a glancing header from Barry Bannan's cross after losing his marker. Ross reacted by replacing Reece James with Luke Molyneux.
The second goal killed the game as the visitors were firmly in control with Sunderland's energy seemingly evaporating despite animated encouragement from Jack Ross in his technical area. There were five minutes added time and Sunderland almost nabbed a consolation when Maguire clipped a pass into the box with Maja latched onto in acres of space but he could not bring it under control. At the death we won a free kick on the edge of the box which Maguire took and his well struck effort mirrored Sunderland's performance looking good but failing to find the target.
Final Score: Sunderland 0 Sheffield Wednesday 2
ALS Man of the Match: Chris Maguire