Sunderland 2-2 Accrington Stanley
Sunderland came back from 2-0 down on Friday evening, as Accrington Stanley claimed a point at the Stadium of Light.
The hosts started the game well and it was end-to-end football in the opening exchanges, but Accrington struck first when Billy Kee converted a penalty on the half-hour mark.
The visitors doubled their lead through Paul Smyth in the 52ndminute, but the Black Cats were able to find an immediate response with a fine finish from George Honeyman.
Jack Ross’ side flooded forward in the stages that followed and several minutes later, Aiden McGeady rounded off a free-flowing move to haul the Lads back on level terms.
The hosts continued to press and in the 90thminute Luke O’Nien saw a goal ruled out for offside, but Accrington weathered the storm and left Wearside with a point.
The game started off fast and the visitors won a corner in the first minute, but the ball was whipped into the box and headed over the crossbar.
Sunderland’s first opening arrived in the fourth minute, when McGeady found space on the edge of the box and sent a thumping effort past the post.
The former Everton man continued to pose a threat and was presented with another shooting opportunity soon after, but this time he was unable to find a clean connection.
The first clear-cut opportunity arrived on 12 minutes and McGeady was once again at the heart of it, but after unleashing Reece James down the left wing, Will Grigg slotted the ball off target from ten yards.
Eight minutes later, the deadline-day signing popped up at the near post, however, his quickfire strike flashed wide.
As it did on Tuesday, the half-hour mark signalled a change in the tide, and Accrington were awarded a penalty when Jack Baldwin brought down Smyth in the 18-yard box.
Jon McLaughlin guessed right, but the power of Kee’s effort ensured the visitors took full advantage and secured a 1-0 lead.
Sunderland’s response included penalty appeals falling on deaf ears when Grant Leadbitter’s corner struck Ross Sykes elbow, but Accy remained a threat on the break and McLaughlin had to be at his best to deny Smyth.
The second half started like the first and a frenetic pace led to an opening on 51 minutes, but at full stretch, Charlie Wyke was unable to steer O’Nien’s shot on target.
And moments later, Accrington doubled their lead.
Sean McConville curled the ball into the box and Smyth ghosted in before heading beyond McLaughlin to punish the Black Cats.
Sunderland needed a reply, and quickly, but Honeyman delivered and finished from close range to immediately reduce the deficit.
Seven minutes later, McGeady played an intelligent one-two with substitute Chris Maguire and received the ball next to the penalty spot before smashing it home to level.
The Lads were by far the dominant side in the stages that followed and on the 70-minute mark, Maguire found a pocket of space in the centre of the pitch and burst forward before blasting off target.
The substitute had also seen an earlier free-kick cleared off the line, but Accrington regained their composure and began to frustrate the Lads as the half continued.
Looking to inject fresh moment into his side, Ross made another change in the 76thminute, when Lynden Gooch made way for Lewis Morgan.
But the visitors held out to earn a point, as it ended all-square at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Dunne, Baldwin, O’Nien, James, Leadbitter (Power 82), Honeyman, McGeady, Gooch, Wyke (Maguire 54), Grigg.
Subs not used: Ruiter, Cattermole, McGeouch, Flanagan.
Accrington Stanley: Maxted, Johnson, Hughes, Donacien, Clark, McConville, Sykes (Richards-Everton 81), Barlaser, Conneely (Brown 68), Kee, Smyth (Armstrong 69).
Subs not used: Zanzala, Nolan, Evitmov, Gibson.