A late Aiden McGeady free kick saw Sunderland come from behind to draw 1-1 at promotion rivals Peterborough United on Monday. In a competitively even game Sunderland fell behind at London Road midway through the second half when substitute Siriki Dembele slotted past Lee Burge. However, after a raft of changes Lee Johnson’s side drew level through McGeady’s spectacular free kick to leave the League One promotion race wide open.
Sunderland gaffer Lee Johnson made three changes to the side that beat Oxford on Good Friday with Grant Leadbitter, Carl Winchester and Ross Stewart replacing Connor McLaughlin, Josh Scowen and Lynden Gooch.
The lads got the game underway in blustery conditions on a pitch what didn’t look great with images shared on social media before the game showing the Peterborough ground staff heavily watering it. It was a cagey opening to the game but it was the hosts who had the first sight of goal when a long punt forward by the keeper wasn’t dealt with but Luke O’Nien did well to block Ward’s shot on the edge of the box.
At the other end Charlie Wyke combined well with Ross Stewart to fashion a shooting opportunity on the edge of the box but Wyke’s volley was deflected wide for a corner. Grant Leadbitter looked to stand the set piece up to the back post for Ross Stewart, but his cross was slightly overhit and Peterborough cleared.
Sunderland almost scored in their next attack when Max Power’s cross from the right found its way to Aiden McGeady in the left-hand side of the box. The Irish winger easily beat his man and curled a goal bound shot towards the right-hand corner of the net only to be denied by a good block by the defender.
Louis Reed picked up an early yellow card for a cynical challenge on Jordan Jones who had skipped past the midfielder although Peterborough were aggrieved as they felt Carl Winchester had committed a foul winning the ball back for Sunderland. Jordan Jones was Sunderland’s most dangerous outlet in the opening stages, and he was unlucky to see a shot from outside the box hit the back of Ross Stewart.
Stewart recovered to force a corner which Jones drove in low to the front post towards Dion Sanderson, but the Peterborough defender got to the ball first and cleared. Having controlled the majority of the opening half an hour there was a warning shot from the home side when Reed found space 25 yards from goal, but Lee Burge gathered his effort comfortably.
A minute later the visitors almost got in on goal when McFadzean was caught sleeping and a ball over the top held up in the wind, but Lee Burge did well to race from his line and hack the ball clear. Soon after McFadzean almost cost Sunderland again when he was caught out of position allowing Szmodics space in the box. However, Luke O’Nien did well to block his cross/shot and the ref waved away appeals for a penalty for handball against O’Nien.
Five minutes before the break Sunderland almost conceded when Burrows crossed from the left-hand side. Luke O’Nien tried to cut the cross out but ended up forcing Lee Burge into a fantastic save low to his left to prevent an own goal. A minute later O’Nien had to be alert to snuff out Szmodics who looked to be racing clear on goal but O’Nien outpaced and outmuscled him with a good piece of defending.
There was two minutes added time, but the half ended goalless with Sunderland being the better side for most of the half though Peterborough probably had the more clear-cut chances. Neither side made a change at the break and it was the visitors who had the first attempt of the second half but Szmodics sliced a volley way over the bar.
From the resulting goal kick Sunderland went close when Charlie Wyke latched onto Lee Burge’s ball forward. Sunderland’s top scorer took the chance early striking the ball towards the top corner from the angle of the box forcing the keeper to tip it over the bar. The resulting corner was cleared comfortably by Peterborough.
Five minutes into the second half Sunderland went close when Ross Stewart did well to win a free kick on the edge of the box. Aiden McGeady went for goal from the free kick curling a shot over the wall, but his effort brushed the side netting.
With half an hour remaining Carl Winchester tried a long-range effort however the keeper dealt with his shot comfortably. Meanwhile Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson had made a double change with Burrows and Reed replaced by Dembele and Brown. Dembele looked lively when he came on and caused Dion Sanderson a problem surging into the box, but the on-loan defender did well to recover and clear.
Peterborough then fired a warning shot when Szmodics skinned McFadzean on the right wing before flashing the ball wide of the post. However, a minute later Peterborough did open the scoring when McFadzean was outmuscled on the edge of our box hoping to win a free kick. The ref didn’t award it allowing Thompson a run into the Sunderland box before finding Dembele who slotted the ball past Lee Burge. The home side had their tales up and Luke O’Nien had to be brave to dive headfirst to block a shot by Clarke-Harris.
Lee Johnson had seen enough and made a quadruple change with Gooch, McLaughlin, O’Brien, and Hume replacing Jones, Stewart, Leadbitter and McFadzean.
Despite the changes Sunderland were reliant on Lee Burge producing another tremendous save from Szmodics. Szmodics had beaten the Sunderland offside trap but Burge was equal to his powerful low effort to keep the lads in the game.
With ten minutes left to play Lee Johnson made a final change with Josh Scowen replacing Carl Winchester and it paid off as Scowen won a free kick on the edge of the box and Sunderland drew level. Aiden McGeady having had an earlier sighter marginally wide found the back of the net this time beating the keeper after clipping his shot over the wall.
Sunderland almost took the lead in the final minute of normal time when Max Power’s cross was almost diverted into his own net by Beevers but his clearance bounced of the outside of the post and behind for a corner which was cleared. There was five minutes injury time but neither side could muster a winner despite Sunderland forcing a late corner.
Final Score: Peterborough United 1 Sunderland 1
ALS Man of the Match: Lee Burge