Despite going 1-0 down in the first half, goals from Aiden O’Brien and Tom Flanagan secured a 1-2 win for 10 man Sunderland away at Gillingham today.
Gillingham were awarded a penalty after O’Nien took a swing at the ball but missed and Lloyd was able to send Hoffmann the wrong way to make it 1-0.
O’Brien equalised with the last kick of the first half for Sunderland, stabbing a cross from Neil past the Gillingham keeper.
Sunderland took the lead early in the second half with Tom Flanagan winning a back post header and sending the ball over the keeper.
The result means Sunderland finish the weekend in 4th place and get back on the right track after a heavy 4-0 defeat in their last fixture against Portsmouth.
Hoffmann, Winchester, Flanagan, Doyle, Cirkin, O’Nien, Neil, Embleton, Pritchard, O’Brien, Stewart
Hoffmann was called into action early into the game with an excellent save to his right after a well struck volley from Tucker at the edge of the box.
Gillingham were awarded a penalty in the opening stages of the half when Luke O’Nien missed the ball in an attempted clearance and swiped at the legs of the Gillingham forward. Danny Lloyd stepped up to take the penalty and sent Hoffmann the wrong way to give the hosts the lead.
Sunderland struggled to get into any sort of rhythm for large parts of the first half with the occasional half chance arriving with Embleton and O’Brien both having long range efforts saved easily.
Sunderland’s first real chance of the game fell to Luke O’Nien after a short corner from Embleton but he fired high over the bar.
Aiden O’Brien scored with the last kick of the first half to draw the game level after Dan Neil’s cross found him at the back post to stab into the net.
Level at the break.
Sunderland were much improved in the second half and took an early lead. A cross sent into the far post by Alex Pritchard and Flanagan was there to head into the back of the net. 1-2
Carl Winchester thought he had made it 1-3 but his goal ruled out for offside.
On the 67th minute, Sunderland were reduced to 10 men. A questionable decision from the official.
Embleton was late to the ball and slid into the Gillingham man and was sent off with Bailey Wright coming on in an attempt to see the game out.
Hoffmann made another outstanding save in the last few minutes of the game, tipping a long range looping header onto the post.
Sunderland were able to see the game out and secure a huge three points that puts the Black Cats in 4th place, one point from top with two games in hand.
Hoffmann 8- Made some important saves and commanded his area very well throughout. Distribution was excellent.
Winchester 6- Didn’t get forward in the same fashion that he usually does. Defended well when called upon.
Flanagan 7- Good header for his goal and defended well throughout.
Doyle 6- Did the basics well and helped get us up the pitch with some neat passing from the back.
Cirkin 7- Got up and down the left flank well and showed his quality on the ball. Made some vital tackles and blocks at the back.
O’Nien 5- Poor today. Passing was off especially in the first half and conceded the penalty that allowed Gillingham to take the lead.
Neil 7- Continues to showcase his ability on the ball and floated in an excellent cross for O’Brien’s goal.
Pritchard 6- Just didn’t really notice him much. Tidy passages of play but nothing outstanding. Good ball in for Flanagan’s winning goal.
Embleton 5- Sent off for a challenge which should have been a yellow. Offered little in the first half but showed creativity in the opening stages of the second.
O’Brien 8- Worked hard all game and got his reward with his first half equaliser. Good movement and good finish.
Stewart 5- Barely noticed him in the game.
Wright 6- Came on at right back to help see the game out after the red card and did a decent job at it.
Aiden O’Brien/ Thorben Hoffmann