A fantastic Charlie Wyke header saw Sunderland beat Shrewsbury Town 1-0 in a scrappy game at the SOL on Saturday. Lee Johnson’s side started the game well and were rewarded when Wyke expertly glanced an Aiden McGeady cross into the top corner. However, Sunderland couldn’t add to their lead and the visitors did improve in the second half though the lads managed to grind out the victory which sees us move up to seventh in the table.
After the disappointing result on Tuesday evening against Plymouth Argyle Lee Johnson made two changes to the side that welcomed Shrewsbury to Wearside. Max Power and Grant Leadbitter returned to the starting eleven at the expense of Dion Sanderson and Carl Winchester. Former Sunderland defender Donald Love lined up for the visitors.
Sunderland got the game underway kicking towards The Roker End and had an early chance after Jack Diamond whipped in a decent cross from the right wing, but Josh Scowen volleyed over at the front post. We almost had an opening soon after when a decent passing move almost saw Aiden McGeady slide the ball into the path of Aiden O’Brien in a fantastic position, but the pass was a yard in front of him.
A couple of minutes later there was half hearted shouts for a penalty from Sunderland when McGeady tumbled under a challenge in the box, but the ref awarded a corner. McGeady swung the corner in which was cleared as far as Scowen on the edge of the box who saw a powerful shot charged down.
We took the lead inside 20 minutes and yet again it was Charlie Wyke on the scoresheet with a fantastic header. Aiden McGeady did well on the left to beat his man and deliver a cross into the box which Wyke glanced into the top right-hand corner of the net with a superb finish. Sunderland should have doubled their lead five minutes later when Wyke latched onto a ball over the top and rounded the keeper who had raced out of his box. However, despite an open goal Wyke fired wide from a slight angle having been forced a bit wide.
Having failed to trouble Sunderland in the opening 35 minutes Shrewsbury were almost handed a lifeline back into the game when Lee Burge scuffed a clearance. The visitors broke into the box and the ball was squared to Leon Clarke in a good position but after fainting to shoot a couple of times he drove a left footed shot over the bar. A couple of minutes later Shrewsbury had another effort on goal when Love was found in the box with a cross from the right, but he volleyed over.
Shrewsbury were enjoying their best spell of the game and went close again after Chapman worked his way into the box, but Lee Burge did well to turn his shot round the post. We cleared the corner and went in at the break deservedly ahead with the first half performance a marked improvement on Tuesday.
There were no changes from either side at half time and five minutes into the restart we had a half chance from a Grant Leadbitter free kick midway in the Shrewsbury half. Leadbitter curled a decent set piece into the box which found Bailey Wright unmarked, but the centre half nodded over the bar.
The opening 20 minutes of the second half were scrappier than the first and Shrewsbury were more on the front foot than Sunderland. Sunderland were guilty of cheaply losing possession and inviting pressure on themselves although we did manage to deal with what they threw at us.
Lee Johnson made his first change of the afternoon on 65 minutes replacing Jack Diamond with Chris Maguire. With 20 minutes remaining Shrewsbury had a decent effort on goal when Whalley cut infield from the left unchallenged but his shot was just over the bar. At the other end we had a chance when Power seized the ball and drove into the box, but he fired into the side netting.
With ten minutes remaining Lee Johnson made his second change of the afternoon with Carl Winchester replacing Aiden McGeady. Sunderland won a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the left-hand side of the box after Callum McFadzean was fouled. However, Grant Leadbitter curled the free kick over the bar.
Luke O’Nien made his return from injury for the final stages of the game replacing Josh Scowen. There was four minutes added time, but Sunderland saw these out without incident to grind out the victory. The second half performance level didn’t match the first but nevertheless an important scrappy victory and a clean sheet.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Shrewsbury Town 0
ALS Man of the Match: Charlie Wyke