Aiden McGeady’s double ensured a sixth Sunderland win on the bounce as Sunderland moved up to second in the League One table.
Following a dull first half, McGeady lit up the second half, as he scored a fine goal from range and added a penalty to ensure the game was won. Jon McLaughlin was again in inspired form as he made sure his side kept a fourth clean sheet on the bounce.
Sunderland made the 800-mile round trip to Plymouth with another sold out away backing. Jack Ross’ men were looking to make it six wins on the bounce in front of the 1400 travelling fans.
Ross has had some selection problems with Lee Cattermole out injured, Aiden McGeady replaced the midfielder with Honeyman dropping back into a deeper role. Josh Maja came back into the side as he replaced Jerome Sinclair.
Glen Loovens also returned to the squad after a period out with injury, the Dutchman started on the bench with regular pair Tom Flanagan and Jack Baldwin in the starting eleven.
Plymouth after a poor start to the season had found some form with back to back wins in League One, with impressive 3-1 and 4-1 wins against Gillingham and Scunthorpe respectively.
Sunderland started the brighter, but it was a pretty flat affair in the opening fifteen with not much note-worthy action. It was clear that Sunderland wanted to get it to Maja’s feet quickly and for the striker to try and turn goalward.
Sunderland’s first effort came through Chris Maguire, the inform Scot took aim for thirty yards plus and had Matt Macey scrambling to his right, as he parried it wide.
Lynden Gooch had Macey worried when his deflected shot was curling into the top corner, but the stopper did well to react and tip it behind for a corner. The chance was a welcome relief, after 35 minutes of, let’s be kind, and say not the best entertainment at Home Park.
The lads were really struggling to create any clear-cut chances, mostly because the Plymouth defenders were happy to sit deep in their own box. Maguire and George Honeyman were restricted to shooting from 30+ yards from with little success.
The second half kicked off in a similar fashion, with Sunderland on the front foot but struggling to find that bit of quality to break down The Pilgrims defence.
What Sunderland needed was one moment of inspiration and Aiden McGeady provided that and then some. The Irish winger cut inside from the right and kept going and going. He then unleashed brilliant curling strike into the bottom right corner. A fantastic effort from the winger who had been quiet for much of the game.
Plymouth almost equalized minutes later as Dylan McGeouch did brilliantly to clear Freddie Ladapo’s header off the line, the attacker leapt up the highest and his header had beaten Jon Mclaughlin. It was a reminder for the Black Cats who had little to defend all game that there was still game to be played.
Plymouth were inches away from getting level after Graham Carey’s free-kick was brilliantly saved by Mclaughlin diving to his left. Moments later the Sunderland keeper came to the rescue as he got down brilliantly to deny Ladapo from getting the equalizer.
Since John McLaughlin came into the side time and time again he’s proven himself to be a top keeper and an inspirational signing.
After a flurry of chances, Plymouth were taking the game to Sunderland and putting their foot down as they looked to get level.
Sunderland against the run of play were awarded a penalty as substitute Luke O’Nien was bundled over by Tafari Moore. After a discussion between Gooch and McGeady, the latter won the battle to take the kick. McGeady with a little stutter sent Macey the wrong way as he calmly slotted it home.
It was McGeady’s third goal in two games and a huge goal to give the lads a healthy two-goal advantage. Special credit to O’Nien who again and again has come off the bench and made a positive impact with his energy and intensity.
Final Score: 2-0
ALS Man of the Match: Aiden McGeady