Accrington Stanley 1-3 Sunderland
Aiden McGeady’s super strike downed Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night to ensure Sunderland’s place in round two of the Carabao Cup.
Jack Ross’ side deservedly led at the break, with Marc McNulty rounding off a free-flowing move to open his red and white account.
Will Grigg went close on two occasions before the interval, but Accrington struck back following the restart, as Colby Bishop converted from the spot.
The crossbar denied McNulty as the Black Cats volleyed back, however, there was no stopping McGeady, who came off the bench to bag a brilliant winner with 10 minutes remaining.
And there were further positives to come, as Charlie Wyke bagged his first of the campaign in stoppage time.
Ross made six changes for the cup clash, as Lee Burge made his debut alongside Alim Ozturk, Grant Leadbitter, Max Power, Chris Maguire and Grigg.
Conor McLaughlin, Jordan Willis, Luke O’Nien, McNulty and Lynden Gooch retained their places, and the USA international forced Dimitar Evtimov into the first save of the encounter.
The first save was routine, but the Stanley stopper’s second was anything but, as he threw out a leg to deny Ozturk after the ball dropped invitingly in the box.
Accrington responded with a couple of wayward efforts, but the McNulty made no mistake on 17 minutes, as a well-taken finish handed the Lads an early advantage.
The home side should have levelled shortly after when Bishop slipped with the goal at his mercy, before Grigg’s glancing header drifted just wide at the other end.
Grigg went close again before the break, but Evtimov managed to turn the striker’s inventive flick behind following incisive link-up play from Power and Maguire.
The first real opening following the restart fell to Jordan Clark, as his looping header failed to trouble Burge.
Both Maguire’s – Chris and Joe – went into the book shortly after, with Sam Finley following suit during a fiery period leading up to the hour mark.
And as the clock struck 60, further fireworks followed, as Bishop struck from the spot after McLaughlin conceded a penalty.
McGeady was called upon with just over 20 minutes remaining, and the winger almost orchestrated a second soon after, with McNulty’s thumping effort rattling the underside of the crossbar.
A few minutes later, the Republic of Ireland man went it alone – and the one-man mission ended in a winner, as he breezed through the final third and found the corner.
Fellow substitute Wyke completed the scoring in added time, flicking the ball into the net to ensure a place in round two.
Accrington Stanley: Evtimov, Johnson, Hughes, Sykes, Clark, Finlay, McConville, Maguire, Barclay (Carvalho 90), Bishop, Baker-Richardson (Pritchard 78).
Subs not used: Bursik, Edwards, Sherif, Francis-Angol, Coneely.
Sunderland: Burge, Willis, Ozturk, O’Nien, C McLaughlin, Power (Dobson 85), Leadbitter, Gooch, Maguire (Wyke 77), McNulty, Grigg (McGeady 69).
Substitutes: J McLaughlin, Flanagan, Baldwin, Embleton.