Sunderland made it three straight away wins last night with an, at times, unpleasant performance. a solitary strike from man of the moment Chris Maguire secured the points for the Black Cats.
Top scorer Josh Maja was rested for the trip to the Keepmoat, meaning the responsibility of leading the line fell to Jerome Sinclair. He was supported by a midfield three which hadn’t played together for some time as Maguire was joined by Lyndon Gooch and George Honeyman. Jack Ross kept faith with a back four of Adam Matthews, Jack Baldwin, Tom Flanagan and Reece James; they would reward their manager in due course.
Matthews Baldwin Flanagan James
Gooch Honeyman Maguire
In the build up to last night’s match, Doncaster manager Grant McCann suggested that Sunderland should be ‘running away’ with League One even at this early stage in what was a classic example of a mind game. It wasn’t the all-out attacking contest which was predicted by some, including myself.
It was the hosts who enjoyed the better of the first half, Andy Butler guided a James Coppinger free-kick goal wards; fortunately for Sunderland it was a comfortable save for Jon McLaughlin. In injury time McLaughlin came to his sides rescue twice in quick succession as Mallik Wilks raced through one on one only to be foiled by the Scottish ‘keeper before Matty Blair managed to cut in from the inside only to be thwarted once more by the Black Cats inform stopper.
HT: Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Sunderland AFC
The start of the second half saw the hosts instantly regret those missed chances. Lyndon Gooch powered forward and fired a strike against the post, the rebound fell to Adam Matthews who drilled the ball across the six-yard box. Chris Maguire popped up to slot into the roof of the net, sending the 4000 Mackems behind the goal crazy.
At the other end John Marquis saw his effort tipped away to safety by McLaughlin; it was quickly looking likely that it wasn’t to be the Yorkshire club’s day. Marquis had a further chance to rescue a point late on but for the final time of the evening McLaughlin comfortably held on.
Three straight wins away from home has got Sunderland flying. They have closed the gap to the top two to just one point, arguably with not a fully fit compliment of players. On to the next contest, the visit of Southend United on Saturday.
FT: Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Sunderland AFC