Oxford (A) Report

Sunderland surrendered 1-0 lead late on as Marcus Browne scored a late equalizer at the Kassam Stadium.

Jimmy Dunne scored the opener midway through the first half, but Sunderland failed to build on the lead and went another game without scoring more than a single goal in a game. Browne equalized with only three minutes of normal time left on the clock.

Sunderland made the journey down to Oxford looking to push closer towards the top two in the League One table.

The big team news pre-match was that deadline day signing Will Grigg started in place of Charlie Wyke. After a full week of training, Grigg was deemed fit enough to start the game in a bid to provide Sunderland with the goals.

The last time Grigg travelled to Oxford he scored a hattrick in a 7-0 win- another performance like that wouldn’t go amiss as Sunderland haven’t scored more than one in a game since mid-December.

There was one other change in the line-up with Jack Baldwin in the team to replace Tom Flanagan at centre-half.

The opening ten minutes of the game were quiet with both sides just feeling each other out- neither team had gotten a grip of the game, however, Sunderland had more attacking intent.

On the counter attack Aiden McGeady charged down the left-hand side and cut back to play it into the path of Honeyman, but he couldn’t control it as the ball rolled through to Simon Eastwood.

The first real chance of the match fell to the hosts as Josh Ruggles header towards goal from a corner- it needed a fine save from Jon McLaughlin who brilliantly denied a goal with his feet.

Minutes after that Oxford played some brilliant stuff and tore Sunderland open, it was great play from Jordan Graham whose shot towards goal just curled wide of the far corner.

After a slow start Oxford had come alive and looked a real threat, it was a real warning sign that this wasn’t going to be an easy game despite the two teams league position.

Sunderland were living dangerously, and McLaughlin was again the saviour. The ball was swung in from the right to a free Jamie Mackie who headed it back towards the right corner but the Scot in goal somehow got fingertips to the shot.

Against the run of play Sunderland took the lead through Dunne in unusual circumstances, it may not be unusual for other teams, but believe it or not Sunderland scored from a corner. Following a brilliant ball in by Grant Leadbitter Dunne got up the highest to head home from close range.

Oxford had started the second half on the front foot and were looking to attack in wide areas when they could. The hosts were doing all the attacking without testing McLaughlin between the sticks.

The U’s should have equalized as McLaughlin brilliantly saved with his feet to deny James Henry from tucking it in the near post. The opening 20 minutes were all Oxford and Sunderland needed to get their foot on the ball and slow the play down.

Jack Ross introduced Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke in the second period to try and give the lads a bit more of an attacking threat and some help to Grigg who looked isolated in large parts.

With just over ten minutes to play Grigg’s debut came to an end, it was a solid enough game from the Northern Irishman, but he wasn’t given enough service to really show what he can do.

Late on Oxford scored through Marcus Browne, Jerome Sinclair beat a few players and laid it off to Browne to tap home. The Sunderland players were fuming with the linesman who didn’t give a foul in the build-up as it appeared that there was a push on Dunne.

In added time it looked as if Sunderland were going to equalize through another corner, but Jack Baldwin’s header looped just wide of the far post.

Full Time: Oxford 1-1 Sunderland

ALS Man of the Match: Jon McLaughlin