Sunderland’s miserable run of form continued on Tuesday evening with a late equaliser needed to salvage a point against lowly Burton Albion at the SOL. The change in the dugout didn’t spark an improved showing and the visitors took the lead through Charles Vernam after a howler from goalkeeper Remi Matthews midway through the second half. Max Power nodded Sunderland level five minutes before the end after a late rally of sorts but yet again the performance was turgid, cumbersome and simply not good enough.
After Friday’s draw away at Fleetwood and the subsequent sacking of Phil Parkinson caretaker manager Andrew Taylor made two changes to the side that started at the Highbury Stadium. Elliot Embleton and Max Power started at the expense of Chris Maguire and Danny Graham
The visitors got the game underway kicking towards the North Stand, but it was Sunderland who threatened first with Max Power forcing a corner after his long range shot deflected wide. Embleton took the set piece and put in a decent cross but Burton cleared for a throw. Sunderland kept up the pressure and Connor McLaughlin forced the keeper into a save after he had been played in on goal by Luke O’Nien.
Sunderland won a free kick in dangerous position 25 yards from goal after Luke O’Nien tumbled under a challenge going away from goal. Embleton clipped the ball into the back post left footed which was cleared only as far as Bailey Wright. Wright appealed for a penalty for handball after his attempted cross to the back post was blocked but the ref was having none of it. The ball then fell to Max Power who crossed the ball back across goal towards Wright who headed off target.
Caretaker gaffer Andrew Taylor was forced into an early change when Charlie Wyke was replaced by Danny Graham. Wyke had been injured earlier in the game after a challenge near the corner flag and despite trying to run off the injury he had to go off.
Burton forced a corner just inside the half hour mark after Bailey Wright was forced to head a cross behind. Powell’s corner picked out Bostwick who got a decent header goal wards which fortunately was straight at Remi Matthews. We immediately went back on the attack down the left with Hume putting in a decent cross which Scowen nodded over.
Just before the break Josh Scowen put in a great cross after being found in the channel by Connor McLaughlin. Scowen whipped a low cross into the six-yard box which Danny Graham was stretching to get onto the end of, but the keeper nipped in front of him to boot clear.
Neither side made any changes at the break as Sunderland restarted the game kicking towards the North Stand. Five minutes into the second half the lads should have opened the scoring after a patient move resulted in Leadbitter sliding the ball to Hume to run onto into the box. Hume played in a low cross towards Embleton who sliced a shot into the path of Josh Scowen inside the six-yard box. Scowen tried to steer the ball into the back of the net but the keeper reacted quickly to somehow keep the ball out and deny the midfielder. Five minutes later Sunderland created another chance this time thanks to a cross from the right from Max Power. Power picked out Embleton unmarked in the box, but the youngster misjudged the flight and the ball looped up off his shoulder and into the arms of the keeper.
With half an hour remaining Sunderland were punished for these missed chances when Burton took the lead through Charles Vernam. The visitors were gifted the goal thanks to an awful piece of goalkeeping from Remi Matthews who spilled a tame long range shot from Powell into the path of Vernam who slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Sunderland tried to respond but the best effort was a long-range Josh Scowen following a corner which went wide before Andrew Taylor made a double change to try and get us back into the game. Elliot Embleton and Tom Flanagan were the men to make way to be replaced by Chris Maguire and Will Grigg.
However, it was the visitors who were in the ascendancy and they could have added to their lead after Hume conceded a free kick on the left. Powell delivered a dangerous cross to the back post which was begging to be nodded in but Bostwick could only glance it wide.
Burton had another chance ten minutes from time after Bailey Wright conceded passion with a sloppy pass though he did recover to block the shot. Sunderland then finally sprung into life and almost equalised but Grigg’s header from O’Nien’s cross rattled the post before the loose ball was crossed again towards Grigg but this time he looped a header wide.
Danny Graham was next to try his luck firstly seeing a left footed shot blocked by the keeper before he volleyed the rebound wide of the post. The pressure from Sunderland eventually told and we drew level five minutes from time through Max Power. Power made a late run into the box and was found by Denver Hume’s cross with the midfielder thumping a header past the keeper.
Sunderland couldn’t muster a winner despite a few rash efforts, but it would have been undeserved anyway. In injury time things got worse when Luke O’Nien trooped off with a bad looking shoulder injury.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Burton Albion 1
ALS Man of the Match: Max Power