Goal Machine Charlie Wyke scored four headers as Sunderland convincingly beat Doncaster Rovers 4-1 in an action-packed game at the SOL on Saturday. Lee Johnson’s side raced into a three-goal lead within half an hour with the scintillating Aiden McGeady providing all the assists for Wyke’s hattrick. The visitors hit back in the second half when Lee Burge was unfortunate to score an own goal before Sunderland instantly responded with McGeady again teeing up Wyke. Lee Burge then atoned for his own goal saving two penalties with the victory seeing Sunderland move up to sixth place in the table.

After the disappointing defeat away to Shrewsbury on Tuesday evening Lee Johnson made six changes to the side that welcomed Doncaster Rovers to Wearside. After a calamitous display Remi Matthews was replaced in goal by Lee Burge whilst the defence was reshuffled with McLaughlin, Sanderson and McFadzean all starting. Luke O’Nien and Lynden Gooch also returned to the side.

The lads got the game underway kicking towards the Roker End, but it was the visitors who had the first effort on goal through John Taylor who cut in from the left to force Lee Burge into a save low to his left. Sunderland took the lead after seven minutes through goal machine Charlie Wyke who headed an Aiden McGeady corner into the back of the net. Lynden Gooch had done well to win the corner on the left flank before McGeady curled a good set piece into the six-yard box which Wyke nodded into the bottom right hand corner.

Sunderland doubled their lead five minutes later through Charlie Wyke when he again combined with Aiden McGeady to head the ball into the back of the net. McGeady did well on the left flank to skin his man and curl a great ball into the box for Wyke who outmuscled his marker to power a header over the keeper into the roof of the net. At the other end there was a bit of a scare when Richards had a couple of shots on goal but McFadzean did well to block the first one before the second one almost ran into the path of Bogle but he failed to control and Sanderson shepherded it behind for a goal kick.

The visitors had another chance after 25 minutes when former Sunderland player Reece James crossed to John Taylor in the box from the left wing, but Taylor sliced his effort wide. Sunderland made it 3-0 after half an hour with Charlie Wyke notching a hat trick of headers again thanks to a wonderful cross from Aiden McGeady. McGeady produced a sublime piece of skill on the left to create space for a cross into the six-yard box where Wyke broke the offside trap before nodding past the keeper.

A couple of minutes later Sunderland almost scored a fourth when Aiden McGeady tried his luck from the edge of the box, but his effort curled wide of the right-hand post. Sunderland went close again before the break and yet again Aiden McGeady was the architect nutmegging a Doncaster player before playing Lynden Gooch clean through on goal with a defence splitting pass, but the keeper was equal to the American’s effort.

The visitors made a change at the break with John Bostock replacing Madger Gomez, but it was Sunderland first on the offensive with Lynden Gooch forcing a corner but O’Nien’s set piece was cleared. We went close again a couple of minutes later when Josh Scowen fashioned a chance for himself after running forward into the box, but he didn’t connect properly with his shot from a tight angle.

A frantic fifteen minutes started when Doncaster got a goal back after Sunderland were exposed defensively with McFadzean and Wright not getting tight enough to their men. Ogle crossed from the right to Richards whose low shot struck the base off the post before rebounding off the back of Lee Burge into the back of the net for an unfortunate own goal. Sunderland hit back instantly and for a fourth time Aiden McGeady crossed for Charlie Wyke to head into the back of the net. The ref then awarded the visitors a penalty which looked harsh on Luke O’Nien who was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area after being shoved over and landing on it. However, Lee Burge atoned for his earlier OG saving the spot kick from Taylor which was straight down the middle of the goal with his feet.

In an attempt to settle the game down Lee Johnson made his first change of the afternoon with half an hour remaining when Grant Leadbitter replaced Connor McLaughlin with Max Power slotting in at right back. Sunderland then almost fluked a fifth goal when Josh Scowen crossed from the right wing and it clipped the top of the bar.

With 15 minutes remaining Johnson made a double change with Jack Diamond and Aiden O’Brien replacing Luke O’Nien and Lynden Gooch. Aiden McGeady soon made way as well to be replaced by Jordan Jones. Doncaster created a chance with five minutes left to play when Josh Sims fed Jason Lokilo, but Burge was equal to Lokilo’s shot.

Doncaster were then awarded another penalty in the final minutes of the game when Callum McFadzean fouled Lokilo and though Sunderland could probably be aggrieved with the first penalty they conceded there was no arguments with this one. Fortunately, Lee Burge made his second penalty save of the afternoon easily gathering Lokilo’s woeful penalty.

There were three minutes additional time, but Sunderland saw these out comfortably to seal the victory and points.

Final Score: Sunderland 4 Doncaster Rovers 1

ALS Man of the Match: Charlie Wyke