Sunderland’s upturn in form continued with a third successive victory thanks to a Lynden Gooch screamer.
The first half was an even game with the hosts edging the possession and playing the better football; in the second period Sunderland improved and created multiple chances before Gooch managed to get the winner late on.
Sunderland travelled to Milton Keynes to face the ‘Dons’ for only the fourth time in the club’s history.
The lads have been in brilliant form of late and Phil Parkinson made one change to the side that comfortably beat Wycombe at the Stadium of Light – Joel Lynch replaced Tom Flanagan at the back. Kyle Lafferty came in for Will Grigg on the bench with the former looking to make his debut.
Sunderland had the first effort on goal as Chris Maguire took aim from 25 yards, but his effort flew high and wide of Lee Nicholls’ in the MK goal.
The lads had a glorious chance to take the lead from a Maguire free-kick – the Scot floated it to the far post which was met by Luke O’Nien who brilliantly headed across goal to Alim Ozturk who from six yards out somehow missed the target!
Fifteen minutes into the game and despite having the best chance so far it wasn’t a fluid affair with neither team setting the game alight.
MK were a little fortunate to still have 11 men as David Kasumu went flying into a challenge with George Dobson. The MK midfielder escaped with just a yellow card despite the outrage from Max Power and co.
The hosts had a good chance to open the scoring as they played it well down the right-hand side and Rhys Healey found himself in on goal, but from a tight angle, he flashed his shot wide of Jon McLaughlin’s goal.
The home side had grown into the game and were controlling the possession and looked a threat. Parkinson’s men were to slow and gave the hosts too much time to pass their way up the pitch.
As the first half ended it was a frustrating affair – Sunderland hadn’t got going. MK's game plan was clear - they pressed in numbers and when they had the ball, they kept it well.
Sunderland started the second half well and Denver Hume whipped in a great ball in from the left looking for O’Nien who couldn’t reach it and was cleared behind.
Parkinson will have been wondering how on earth his team weren’t in front as Lynden Gooch had an effort cleared off the line which then dropped to Wyke who has his also cleared off the line.
The lads had started the half in a more direct manner and were playing at a pace which did not suit MK Dons.
For the second game in a row Maguire almost scored a beautiful free kick, this time he was denied by Nicholls whose outstretched arm tipped it wide – a brilliant save.
Maguire’s free kicks were deadly, and he almost turned provider as he played in a fine ball to O’Nien at the back stick who should have done better from close range.
With just over 15 minutes left this game was there to be won and it was the lads who looked the most likely.
Parkinson decided to make a change and it was a debut for new signing Kyle Lafferty who replaced Wyke up top. It was almost a dream start as the big man took aim from 20 yards out but couldn’t find the target.
With 12 minutes to go, Sunderland took the lead with an absolute stunner from Lynden Gooch. The American cut inside from the right and looked to be off balance but managed to curl an effort beautifully into the far corner leaving Nicholls with no chance.
There’s a reason why Ozturk is a defender and should have killed the game with just five minutes to play. Maguire played it in to the far post and Lafferty played it back to the Turk who from six yards out and the goal gaping headed it over.
Despite a late spell of pressure from the hosts, Sunderland hung on for a crucial three points and sent the four thousand plus away fans home happy.
Full Time: MK Dons 0-1 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Lynden Gooch