Sunderland’s unbeaten start to the season continued at the Stadium of Light but the Oxford mate them work hard for their point.
Alim Ozturk made his first league appearance on home soil as he came in for the injured Glen Loovens and Bryan Oviedo replaced Reece James at left back.
Sunderland starting line-up
Oviedo Ozturk Baldwin Love
Maguire Honeyman Gooch
Not for the first time this season, the hosts didn’t get going early on and it was Oxford who looked to take the game by the scruff of its neck. With fifteen minutes on the clock they broke the deadlock. Ricky Holmes lined up a free kick on the edge of the box and curled the ball in past Jon McLaughlin in the Sunderland goal to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Moments later things got worse for Sunderland. Max Power always looked like he’d be late with his challenge and his lunge on Marcus Browne saw the on-loan Wigan midfielder receive his marching orders. It was what you might call a bad start for the Black Cats.
Referee Mark Heywood wasn’t making himself popular with the home faithful, with a string of poor decisions and harsh yellow cards. Throughout the contest, eight yellow cards would be branded and very few were justified. It was a poor half for Sunderland and things could only get better.
HT: Sunderland 0-1 Oxford United
New signing Charlie Wyke came off the bench at the start of the second half and made an impact almost immediately. Lyndon Gooch made a charging run at the Oxford back line and his goal bound effort was touched home by Wyke, the ball nestling in the bottom corner via the post. All level again and the momentum was with the hosts.
Lee Cattermole saw a chance flash wide before top scorer Josh Maja tested Oxford keeper Jonathan Mitchell, yet a fourth straight win was to be just out of reach for Sunderland.
Oxford had the ball in the net late on but Jamie Mackie’s rebounded effort was ruled out for offside and moments later a scramble in the six yard box almost resulted in a soft winner for the visitors. In the end, it felt like a point gained for Sunderland who never really got going in this one.
FT: Sunderland 1-1 Oxford United
Its six games unbeaten for the Black Cats now, next up in League One is the visit of Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town on Saturday.