Sunderland failed to bounce back from the weekend defeat to Portsmouth as Phil Parkinson’s men drew 2-2 away at Rochdale.
Charlie Wyke’s third goal in four games gave Sunderland the lead but was cancelled out by Matthew Lund goal. Sunderland scored a second through Bailey Wright but were pegged back by a second Lund goal.
Sunderland travelled to Rochdale for the lads third game in a week and made four changes: Tom Flanagan, Conor McLaughlin, George Dobson and a debut for Dion Sanderson came into the side to replace Luke O’Nien, Jordan Willis, Grant Leadbitter and Josh Scowen.
The last time the lads travelled to the Crown Oil Arena Sunderland were 2-1 winners with Charlie Wyke getting the winner – Phil Parkinson will have no doubt been looking for a similar result.
Without testing Lee Burge, the hosts looked the more confident side with most of the play being in Sunderland’s half in the opening five minutes.
Matthew Lund’s slack pass released Chris Maguire one on one with the last defender but went for goal from long range and was easily blocked – a wasted opportunity.
Sunderland were growing into the game and thanks to some brilliant work from Lynden Gooch who turned his man inside out; he whipped in a great ball from the left that found Charlie Wyke to easily nod Sunderland in front.
With 25 minutes on the clock, Rochdale were level, Alex Newby played in a lovely ball to Lund who was unmarked to head home – he was given a free run from midfield and couldn’t miss.
The goal had given Rochdale confidence and once again were looking the better side, sloppy passes from the likes of Max Power and Dobson were gifting the Dale chances to attack.
Sunderland could have retaken the lead as Denver Hume’s floated cross was met by Wyke, but the big striker couldn’t generate any Power on his cross as it was comfortably grabbed by Gavin Bazunu.
Five minutes before the break and Sunderland scored a second; Maguire’s freekick came out to Gooch whose shot deflected to Bailey Wright to head home for his first goal for the club – Bazunu got two hands to hit but somehow couldn’t keep it out.
A minute before the break Rochdale equalised again and it was terrible defending as Sunderland got themselves in a right mess and couldn’t clear - the ball broke for Lund to slot it home for his second goal.
From conceding one in the first six games of the season Parkinson’s men had conceded five in a game and a half, and it simply wasn’t good enough.
Sunderland’s attacks were all coming down the left-hand side and Hume’s cross dropped to Maguire at the back stick who unleashed a fierce drive that was blocked and his cross/shot from the rebound whistled just past the post.
It had been a second half with limited openings, but with 20 minutes left it was Sunderland who were doing all the pressing to no avail.
Parkinson made the first change of the game as Josh Scowen came in for Maguire to try and provide some more energy to the midfield.
Sunderland should have taken the lead with ten minutes to play – McLaughlin’s ball in was turned goal wards by Wyke and tipped wide by Bazunu to Gooch who squared it to Hume who dragged his shot painfully wide.
Max Power, late on, almost gave Sunderland the three points in sensational fashion as his volley from 20 yards out came crashing back off the bar, and it dropped to substitute Danny Graham, but his header couldn’t beat Bazunu.
Full Time: Rochdale 2 -2 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Charlie Wyke
SAFC: Burge; Flanagan, Wright, Sanderson; McLaughlin, Gooch, Dobson, Power ©, Hume; Maguire (Scowen 75’), Wyke (Graham 80’).
Subs not used: Matthews (gk), Willis, Leadbitter, O’Brien, Grigg.