Rochdale (A) Report

Sunderland made it back to back league wins with a 2-1 victory away to Rochdale as the lads jumped up to sixth in the League One table.

Sunderland took the lead midway through the first half thanks to an Aiden McGeady goal, but were pegged back five minutes later courtesy of a Callum Camps strike as the first half ended. Charlie Wyke’s goal put Sunderland back in front as the lads sealed the three points.

Following Sunderland’s success against Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light, the lads travelled to the Crown Oil Arena to face a Rochdale side one place above Sunderland in 9th.

Jack Ross made one change from Saturday’s win with Marc McNulty making way for Charlie Wyke – it was a big injury blow for Sunderland and McNulty himself who has started the season very well.

It was a great chance for Wyke to cement his place in the starting line-up and push the lads into the playoff places with a win.

Rochdale came into the game off the back of a 0-0 draw against Shrewsbury Town and coincidentally had the same points, goals scored, and goals conceded as Sunderland.

The opening ten minutes of the game was an open affair with both sides trying to assert themselves on the game.

Rochdale had the first opening of the game as Ian Henderson was brilliantly slipped through behind Connor McLaughlin, but the striker couldn’t find Callum Camps as his pass was too strong.

After a good performance against Portsmouth, this wasn’t the start Sunderland fans would have hoped for - it was a lethargic and lacklustre opening 15 minutes from the lads.

Despite playing well below par Sunderland took the lead thanks to Aiden McGeady’s strike, after some good work from Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire it fell to Luke O’Nien who picked out the Irishman free at the far post and fired home at the near post.

The goal was out of nothing and a little harsh on the hosts, but it was exactly the shot in the arm the lads needed.

Not long after the scores were level as Stephen Dooley played a good pullback to Camps who fired it past McLaughlin into the corner from the edge of the area.

Sunderland were only leading for five minutes and it was a justified equaliser for the Dale who had been the better side.

As the half time whistle blew, Ross couldn’t be pleased with what he had seen from his team. Barring McGeady’s goal, Rochdale had been on top and will have been disappointed that they hadn't tested Jon McLaughlin's goal more often.

Rochdale had started the second half the better and Oliver Rathbone was causing O’Nien all sorts of problems and the midfielder made a great run down the left and his effort needed to be saved at the near post.

Dale were close to a second as Camps effort from range was saved well by McLaughlin who got down low to his right to parry it wide.

The hosts looked much more threatening in the opening ten minutes of the half and were looking good for a second of the game.

The lads hadn’t looked any better in the second half and in a bid to change that Will Grigg replaced Gooch.

Against the run of play yet again, Sunderland regained the lead - O’Nien’s floated cross was met by McGeady who headed it back to Wyke for the big striker to finish past Robert Sanchez.

A first league goal of the season for Wyke and hugely important goal for Ross’ side who despite not playing that well were leading.

Sunderland almost got a third as Grigg was slipped through and on the angle, Sanchez blocked the shot and the rebound fell to Wyke, but his effort couldn’t beat the Dale’s keeper.

Wyke and Grigg were combining so well and looked like a real threat whenever the lads went forward.

Rochdale were pressing for an equaliser as substitute Calvin Andrew’s shot was deflected behind by Andrew Willis.

With ten minutes to play it was a tense affair, it still felt that Sunderland needed that third goal to make sure that the three points were going back to Wearside.

With not long left to play, Rochdale were inches away from levelling the scores as Dooley cut inside onto his left foot and was denied by a brilliant McLaughlin save at the near post.

The Dale were pushing and pushing, deep into injury time the ball was crossed into Andrew, but his header from eight yards out was straight into the gloves of McLaughlin – a massive chance missed.

Full Time: Rochdale 1-2 Sunderland

ALS Man of the Match: Charlie Wyke