Sunderland moved into the automatic promotion places after coming from behind to draw 1 – 1 with Burton Albion on Tuesday evening at the SOL. The lads fell behind midway through the first half after Tom Flanagan inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net trying to block a cross. However his fellow centre half Jack Baldwin drew the lads level five minutes later with a header from a corner to earn a point and move the lads into second in the league still with a game in hand on Luton and Barnsley.
Jack Ross made three changes to the side that beat Rochdale on Saturday with Oviedo, Honeyman and Leadbitter replacing Hume, Gooch and Power. Sunderland went close inside five minutes with Dylan McGeouch crossed from the right to Wyke who clipped the top of the bar with a header from the edge of the box. At the other end the visitors had a sight of goal when cross from the left picked out their forward but he clipped the shot over the bar.
After ten minutes Sunderland went close again when Grigg did well to turn his man and surge forward only for the keeper to make a decent stop parrying away his shot. The rebound almost fell for Honeyman but Burton managed to scramble it clear. McLaughlin was then forced into a decent save getting down low to hold a well struck shot from just inside the box.
We conceded after twenty minutes when Sunderland conceded a sloppy goal after McGeouch had the ball took off him by Allen who played a ball out to the left flank for Harness. He tried to take Flanagan on before crossing but the ball deflected wickedly off Flanagan and nestled into the back of the net with McLaughlin totally wrong footed.
Sunderland responded well and drew level five minutes later after Baldwin headed home from Leadbitter’s corner. Morgan did well down the right to force the corner which Leadbitter delivered into the six yard box with Baldwin rising highest and thumping a header into the back of the net. Jack Ross was then forced into an early change with McGeouch picking up a knock and being replaced by Power.
We should have took the lead after the half hour when Power’s cross wasn’t cleared and fell to Charlie Wyke six yards from goal and with the keeper to beat. However Wyke's stabbed effort goal wards was smothered by the keeper. Then at the other end Baldwin almost deflected a cross into his own goal but fortunately it went wide of the post.
There was four minutes of injury time signalled due to a few stoppages throughout the first half for knocks. Sunderland had the best effort of the additional time when a cross to the back post picked out Wyke stretching unmarked at the back post but he hit the side netting.
Neither side made any changes at half time and Sunderland went straight on the offensive with O'Nien doing well on the right but he slightly over ran the ball out for a goal kick. Burton had a great opportunity to retake the lead after some slack Sunderland defending allowed Boyce to slide the ball to Harness but he was denied by a great save from McLaughlin. Sunderland were on the back foot and McLaughlin was then called on again to make another save from Boyce before Baldwin made a crucial clearance off the line as the ball span towards the goal.
With twenty five minutes left and having been under the cosh the lads had a gilt edge chance to go ahead after Grant Leadbitter conjured up an opening for Charlie Wyke. Leadbitter dinked a clever ball over the top of the defence to pick out Wyke who had sprung the offside trap but Wyke volleyed off the top of the bar and over. Soon after this Jack Ross made his second change of the game with Kaz Sterling replacing Will Grigg. Sterling had an opportunity shortly after coming on after being teed up by Honeyman but he blazed high and wide.
Tom Flanagan then drew a save from the keeper with a header from a deep free kick before Sunderland struck the woodwork yet again this time through Leadbitter. He picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box, skipper a challenge before shooting left footed and striking the foot of the post.
Burton responded and again capitalized on poor Sunderland defending which allowed Harness unclear run on goal but McLaughlin again did brilliantly rushing off his line and making a block. With ten minutes to go Ross made his final change with Kimpioka replacing Lewis Morgan as Ross went in search of all three points. Kimpioka made a impact with his energy and was on the receiving end of a late challenge which saw the offender cautioned as he broke forward.
We forced a corner late on after O’Nien's cross was headed behind and then another corner straight after when the keeper punched the first one behind. Sunderland got the ball into the back of the net after the keeper tried to claim it and appeared to drop it but the ref predictably blew for a foul. There were five minutes of injury time and after a patient build up we did fashion one chance of sorts when a cross found Kimpioka at the back post but he nodded wide.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Burton Albion 1
ALS Man of the Match: Jon McLaughlin