Sunderland enjoyed an unbeaten November with two wins and two draws in the league. They also won in the EFL trophy and FA Cup. These results extended their unbeaten run to 14 games.
The team are now second in the table after just one defeat all season. With confidence high, form good and players returning from injury, Sunderland fans are confident that their team can remain in the automatic promotion places. Here is a look back at the goings on at Sunderland during November.
Sunderland November Review
Watmore on the Mend
Duncan Watmore is closing in on a return to first-team action. His year-long absence from playing due to an ACL injury came to an end as he played 60 minutes for the Under 23’s against Middlesbrough. He is now in line to feature against Notts County in the EFL Trophy at the Stadium of Light at the beginning of December.
Due to two cruciate ligament injuries, the 24 year-old has featured in only half a dozen game in two years. Hopefully this time he can put his injuries behind him.
However, a player who will not feature for the foreseeable future is young defender Denver Hume. He will be out for a further two months due to an ongoing knee injury.
Contract Talks Ongoing
Talks between Sunderland and soon-to-be out-of-contract pair Josh Maja and Lynden Gooch are ongoing. Manager Jack Ross recently gave an update on the talks.
“There has been continued dialogue between the board and their representatives. Like everything, sometimes these things are more prolonged but there is nothing as yet that would suggest they are not going to stay at the club, which is good.”
Back-to-Back Awards for Maguire
At the end of November, it was announced that Chris Maguire had won the League One goal of the month award for October. He was nominated for his long-range strike at Southend which helped his side collect three points. This followed his goal of the month award for September.
Plymouth Argyle (A) W 0-2
Sunderland’s longest trip of the season proved to be a successful one as they left with the three points. An Aiden McGeady double secured the win with two second-half goals. An excellent run and finish brought the first goal on 53 minutes. A penalty won by substitute Luke O’Nien completed the Irishman’s double. The victory moved the Black Cats to second in the table.
Port Vale (A) FA Cup W 1-2
A week later, attention turned to the FA Cup in front of the live TV cameras. This was Sunderland’s first appearance in the first round of the FA Cup since 1987. It was a hard fought game in which George Honeyman gave the visitors the lead in the first minute.
Lynden Gooch extended Sunderland’s lead; however, Port Vale fought hard. They grabbed a goal just before half-time and gave the Black Cats plenty of problems. In the end, Sunderland had enough to see the game out and progress to the next round.
Morecambe (A) Checkatrade Trophy W 0-1
Another cup tie arrived soon after the last. An injury-time winner from striker Josh Maja secured their place in the next round having topped their group table. Jack Ross changed his team completely for this game and gave several youngsters a chance to impress.
It was an even game as it looked likely penalties would be required. However, top scorer Maja secured the win at the end, assisted by Bryan Oviedo.
Wycombe (H) D 1-1
Sunderland returned to league action at the Stadium of Light looking to continue their winning run. They failed to win but extended their unbeaten run. For the first hour, the sides could not be separated until Wycombe took the lead.
For a long time afterwards, it seemed that the visitors had done enough to earn the points. With seven minutes remaining, Josh Maja got the equaliser, much to the relief of Sunderland and their supporters. Max Power came close to getting a late winner but it wasn’t to be for the home side.
Walsall (A) D 2-2
Sunderland dominated the opening period of this game but a third red card of the season for Max Power on 22 minutes made the rest of the game a difficult one. Walsall took full advantage of their extra man. Within seven minutes of the second half starting, Walsall were two goals ahead. At this stage, a defeat and more goals conceded looked the most likely outcome.
These days, Sunderland are made of much stronger stuff and showed fight and passion to get themselves back into the game. Aiden McGeady pulled a goal back and then in the 89th minute, when it looked like the home side would hang on, Lynden Gooch’s excellent finish sent the travelling fans wild. Their unbeaten run remained intact.
With many supporters and Jack Ross feeling the red card given to Max Power was unfair, the club appealed. The appeal was won and Power would be available for selection for the next game against fellow promotion hopefuls Barnsley.
Barnsley (H) W 4-2
Ross’ side played their best football for many a year for much of the first half. They dominated a Barnsley side who, before the game, lay just behind their hosts in third place. Barnsley, like Sunderland, were coming into this game on the back of an unbeaten run.
The home side took the lead through an Aiden McGeady penalty on 18 minutes. One minute later, Sunderland increased their lead. Josh Maja scoring an excellent goal, bending the ball into the corner of the net past the visitors’ goalkeeper. Maja could have scored again soon after but his header went just wide.
Sunderland were running riot at this point and it was no surprise when the third goal of the event went the way of the hosts. Lynden Gooch’s effort looped past the keeper. A big score looked to be on the cards but Barnsley pulled a goal back just before half-time to make it 3–1.
The Tykes came out for the second half looking like a different team. Multiple balls were played into the box as they looked to reduce the deficit further. On the hour, their pressure paid off when striker Kieffer Moore scored his second of the night with a near post header. Sunderland responded and began making chances again with several being missed.
Their fourth did eventually arrive to the relief of their fans. Substitute Luke O’Nien scored after Barnsley were caught out by a Sunderland counter-attack to make it 4-2 at full time.
The Black Cats finished November in second place on 40 points, four points behind leaders Portsmouth and two ahead of third place but with a game in hand on those below.