Sunderland drew 1 – 1 with Rotherham United at the SOL on Tuesday evening after Marc McNulty's early goal was cancelled out by a second half Jake Hastie leveller. However, the result could have been a lot different had Jack Ross' side not squandered a host of first half chances most notably an Aiden McGeady penalty miss. The lads had dominated the game up to this but the tide then turned and the Millers were much the better team in the second half with Jack Ross' side well on the back foot.
After the 3 – 1 win over Accrington Stanley on Saturday Jack Ross was boosted by the return to the squad of Charlie Wyke whilst having no fresh injury concerns. The Scot made two changes to the side with Grant Leadbitter and Chris Maguire making way for Dylan McGeouch and Connor McLaughlin. The change in personnel saw Connor McLaughlin go to right back allowing Luke O’Nien to play in an advanced midfield role just behind McNulty. Charlie Wyke was named on a strong looking bench.
The visitors got the game underway kicking towards the North Stand but it was the lads who took the lead inside the first minute through Marc McNulty. A quick free kick played over the top by Ozturk set away McNulty who did well to round the keeper and stay on his feet before slotting the ball into the back of the net.
McNulty was almost clean through again a moment later after Aiden McGeady nicked possession in the midfield but the Rotherham defender recovered well to get back and make a challenge. We went close again after ten minutes with a good move down the left where McGeady crossed and McNulty dummied it allowing O’Nien a shot but he blazed over with his left foot. Aiden McGeady then went close after a neat bit of play on the edge of the box saw him curl a right footed shot towards the top corner but he was denied by a great save by the keeper.
Just before the half hour Sunderland were awarded a penalty after Lynden Gooch was upended in the box by a rash challenge. However the scores remained level after the keeper was equal to Aiden McGeady’s weak side footed effort making an easy save down to his left. Five minutes later Rotherham were incensed that they weren’t awarded a spot kick of their own after McLaughlin went shoulder to shoulder with their winger but the ref waved away the protests.
Five minutes before half time Rotherham had their best spell of the game first Ladapo tested McLaughlin with a header after being found from the left unmarked in the box. Then a minute later Hastie raced through and skipped Jon McLaughlin’s sliding tackle but his cross was cleared but only for a corner. The visitors should have scored when the corner was flicked on to the back post but it was a glaring miss as Crooks headed over.
On the stroke of half time Aiden McGeady almost atoned for his penalty miss with some neat trickery and a curling shot but it dropped just the wrong side of the post. Neither side made any changes at the break and Rotherham had the ball in our net early in the half after a set piece but the ref had already blew to halt play after Willis suffered a head injury.
We then forged out a decent opening after a good move down the right involving McLaughlin and Gooch but the cross was slightly deflected taking it away from McNulty and into the arms of the keeper. There was then another break in play as Sunderland suffered another head injury with O’Nien this time on the receiving end although he was fit to continue. Jack Ross then made his first change of the game with half an hour remaining as Wyke replaced McNulty.
Jon McLaughlin was called into action as Sunderland were under the cosh as the visitors were camped in Sunderland’s half as the keeper raced from his line to deny Hastie with a good block. Rotherham did score a few minutes later and the goal had been coming and it was Hastie who beat McLaughlin down the left hand side. Ladapo was the creator surging forward and teeing up the winger who blasted his shot past McLaughlin.
The goal prompted Jack Ross into his second change with Chris Maguire replacing Connor McLaughlin as Sunderland reshuffled with O’Nien dropping to right back. With twenty minutes to go Charlie Wyke had a great opportunity to give the lads the lead again but he was denied by the keeper before McGeady clipped a shot just wide of the post.
With ten minutes remaining Sunderland started being really sloppy in possession whilst the midfield continued to be overran. Ladapo pounced on a sloppy pass and again played in Hastie who opted to cross rather than shoot with Sunderland managing to bundle the ball clear. Jack Ross made his final change with five minutes to go as Will Grigg replaced Lynden Gooch.
There was six minutes added time which Rotherham just ran the clock down for although they did have the only effort of the additional time after O’Nien was out jumped for a cross but the looping header was off target. We did force a corner at the death but the delivery summed up Sunderland’s second half with two crosses failing to beat the first man before McGeady crossed into the crowd.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Rotherham United 1
ALS Man of the Match: Marc McNulty, game changed when he went off