Sunderland came from behind to draw 1 – 1 with promotion rivals Hull City at the SOL on Saturday evening. The visitors took the lead early in the first half when Reece Burke capitalised on a mistake from Lee Burge before Aiden McGeady levelled ten minutes later somewhat against the run of play. Grant McCann’s side had started the game better creating more chances than Lee Johnson’s though the lads did improve in the second half but continue to lack a cutting edge. A draw probably fair.
Lee Johnson made one change from the goalless draw with Northampton last weekend with Callum McFadzean replacing Tom Flanagan. Former Sunderland captain George Honeyman started for the visitors.
As is tradition with the first home game of every year there was a minute’s silence prior to kick off for all the former Sunderland players and supporters who sadly passed away in 2020. The visitors got the game underway kicking towards the North Stand, but Sunderland quickly nicked possession and went on the offensive but Aiden McGeady’s cross from the left was too near the keeper. We then forced an early corner after Jack Diamond’s cross from the right was cut out, but the visitors cleared the set piece easily.
At the other end Hull almost got in on goal after Wilks latched onto a through ball but Lee Burge was bravely out quickly to gather the ball at the striker’s feet. Burge however needed treatment after the collision with replays showing Wilks caught Burge in the face with his left boot. After a lengthy stoppage and physio treatment Burge was able to continue but probably wished he hadn’t as he was soon picking the ball out of his net after his mistake gifted the visitors the lead.
George Honeyman had won a free kick on the right-hand side after being caught late by Aiden McGeady. The former Sunderland skipper whipped the free kick into the six-yard box, but Burge spilled what should have been an easy catch at the feet of Burke who turned the ball into the back of the net. The visitors were on top after taking the lead and Bailey Wright picked up a yellow card after a foul on Wilks whilst Sunderland looked shaky defending a flurry of set pieces.
We drew level through Aiden McGeady after 20 minutes with our first decent move of the game from a free kick which Max Power won midway in the Hull half. Grant Leadbitter clipped a fantastic ball over the Hull defence into the path of Jack Diamond who hooked a cross into the box which McGeady nodded into the bottom right hand corner.
At the other end Hull continued to cause Sunderland problems and almost retook the lead through Tom Eaves but his header hit the bar. Ten minutes later Hull went close again through Eaves who found space in the six-yard box to head Wilks cross towards goal, but Lee Burge denied him acrobatically palming the ball away.
Sunderland were then aggrieved when Jack Diamond was blocked off just outside the box by the goalkeeper chasing down a ball from Leadbitter. The ref played on rather than award Sunderland a free kick which typified the referees first half performance with him having let the visitors off with a few rough challenges. The visitors were forced into an early change with Tom Eaves, who had been causing Sunderland problems, went off injured and was replaced by Josh Magennis.
After the early injury to Lee Burge there were seven additional minutes at the end of the first half and Hull eventually found themselves with a player booked after Honeyman clattered McFadzean. Hull almost fashioned another chance in first half injury time, but Connor McLaughlin did well to cut out a cross meaning it was level at the break.
Lee Johnson made a double change at the break with Remi Matthews replacing Lee Burge and Lynden Gooch replacing Connor McLaughlin. Max Power slotted into right back to accommodate Gooch.
Hull had an early chance in the second half, but Wilks blazed over from a tight angle with a powerful left footed effort. Sunderland slowly grew into the second period and had a gilt-edge chance to take the lead 10 minutes after the restart after a good cross from the right from Max Power. However, Lynden Gooch missed his attempted header before Charlie Wyke touched the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.
With 20 minutes remaining Jack Diamond dug out a cross from the right wing which looked to be dropping under the cross bar, but the Hull keeper scrambled back to tip the bar over for a corner which the visitors cleared. Lee Johnson then made a triple substation with Chris Maguire, Danny Graham, and Elliot Embleton replacing Jack Diamond, Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady.
The final stages of the game were very scrappy from both sides. Sunderland won a couple of corners and free kicks in dangerous positions but the delivery from Embleton was very poor failing to beat the first man on more than one occasion. Hull broke a couple of times with the pacey Wilks causing problems, but Sunderland cleared with good defending from Sanderson.
At the death Hull almost snatched victory with Wilks again getting a sight of goal in the box but Callum McFadzean did well to block his shot.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Hull City 1
ALS Man of the Match: Grant Leadbitter