Sunderland dug in to earn a hard fought 2-0 In Shropshire against a Shrewsbury side usually tough to beat on their home patch.
The visitors lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with Josh Maja and Jerome Sinclair leading the line. Lee Cattermole was joined by Dylan McGeouch in the centre of midfield whilst George Honeyman and Lyndon Gooch made up a strong looking Sunderland bench.
Matthews Baldwin Flanagan James
Maguire McGeouch Cattermole McGeady
It was the hosts who made the better start to the match. Omar Beckles did well to get on the end of an Alex Gillead cross and his glancing header hit the framework of the Sunderland goal. Minutes later Luke Waterfalls’ goal bound effort was palmed to safety by Jon McLaughlin as the hosts cranked up the pressure.
Lee Cattermole is in the midst of his best goal scoring campaign and he came close to grabbing his fourth of the season late in the second half. The captain for the day volleyed over after good work from Jerome Sinclair. After a poor start to the half it was the visitors who ended it the strongest.
HT: Shrewsbury Town 0-0 Sunderland AFC
Onto the second period and with just over half an hour left on the clock Sunderland made the all important breakthrough. Lyndon Gooch played a neat one-two with McGeouch before firing the ball across the box towards a huddle of players. Omar Beckles was credited with the last touch as the ball nestled into the bottom corner of the Shrews goal. 1-0 to the visitors.
Ten minutes later Shrewsbury came close to the perfect response, but Josh Laurent could only guide his header harmlessly wide of McLaughlin, the Scottish stopper looked to have it covered even if it was on target.
Then, with five minutes remaining, Sunderland made sure of the points. Chris Maguire carried the ball forward and found substitute Luke O’Nein. The former Wycombe midfielder exchanged passes with Gooch before firing the ball low into the corner of the net to effectively end the game as a contest.
It was a far from perfect performance, but in the end Sunderland were professional enough to dig in and see the job through with relatively few scares.
FT: Shrewsbury Town 0-2 Sunderland AFC