A lacklustre first 52 minutes saw Sunderland deservedly trail Accrington 2-0 at the Stadium of Light. However, the introduction of sub Chris Maguire swung the game. The Scot made a huge impact as the Black Cats rallied to draw 2-2.
Sub Chris Maguire the Difference as Sunderland Draw
It was yet another frustrating night at the Stadium of Light on Friday. Having drawn the first of three consecutive home games against Blackpool, Sunderland were in need of the three points. However, as has been the norm of late, the Black Cats failed to secure the victory. Instead, they once again had to settle for a hard-earned point.
Two Start up Front
Sunderland began the game with two forwards. New signing Will Grigg partnering Charlie Wyke. Unfortunately, the Black Cats struggled to break down a hard-working Accrington side. Apart from two opportunities for Grigg, which went wide, Sunderland failed to test the opposition keeper.
A Goal Down at Halftime
The home side were struggling with the directness of Accrington going forward. It was of little surprise when a penalty was awarded. The Stanley forward ran at the Sunderland defence at pace and was brought down by Jack Baldwin. The resulting penalty was dispatched into the corner.
Home fans were looking for a response from their team after a poor first half. Wyke had an excellent chance to equalise; however, stretching for the ball, he put his effort wide.
Accrington, who had not scored this year, found themselves two goals ahead a minute later. A quick attack saw a good ball played into the box where a header was dispatched into the net. Changes were needed for the home side and one was about to be made.
Enter Chris Maguire
Fan favourite Chris Maguire, who had fallen out of favour of late came on. Charlie Wyke’s replacement took little time in making an impact. His cross on 55 minutes found Will Grigg who knocked it across goal for captain George Honeyman to score.
Seven minutes later, Maguire was again instrumental as Sunderland scored the equaliser. Aiden McGeady found Maguire in the box, the forward then pulled the ball back across goal for McGeady to finish.
The Black Cats were now chasing victory. Maguire’s impact changed the game. Jack Ross had asked Maguire to prove him wrong. This performance will go a long way in doing that.
Despite the pressure the home side had, and a goal ruled out for offside, Sunderland had to settle for yet another draw. 14 of 31 games have now ended in draws.
Changes Needed Going Forward
Sunderland face Gillingham next in their run of three consecutive home games. Fans were hoping for maximum points; however, the best they can now hope for is five.
Chris Maguire has certainly staked his claim for a starting position. His performance after coming on changed the game and almost led to victory. Max Power is also in contention to start. The former Wigan midfielder has seen his form drop of late. However, his passion can’t be questioned, and this could be vital to the Black Cats.
The starting elevens that Jack Ross has gone with have not worked as well as everyone would have liked. Major changes are not necessary. One or two could make all the difference and see Sunderland make up ground at the top of the table.
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