World News – GB – Exactly how it turned out as Sunderland battled with injuries to seal a hugely impressive victory


A controlled finish from Charlie Wyke gave the Black Cats the lead in a first half they controlled without dominating, before Chris Maguire capped a remarkable break early in the second half with a penalty kick

Despite their defensive staff issues, with Jordan Willis the latest to receive a disturbing blow, Sunderland produced another clean sheet with another resilient performance that offered little to their opponents

The game has always been designed to be a test of Sunderland’s credentials, given the defensive issues Parkinson suffered in preparation for the match

Swindon Town had their own injury issues, especially up front, but boasted a strong attacking record on their own pitch

Parkinson had chosen to keep Luke O’Nien on the left side of a full-back three, a position that had impressed him during his last outing against Carlisle United This saw Conor McLaughlin make his first start since December of last year on the right of defense, and there was an understandable rust in his game during the first exchanges

There was a contrast of styles on the show, with Swindon determined to try and play from the back as often as possible

Sunderland sensed an opportunity, pushing high and pressing aggressively in hopes of forcing an error

They nearly took a quick lead when Josh Scowen sent a fierce cross into the penalty area, which was deflected a few inches wide with the local goalkeeper rooted there

Yet it was the only notable effort in an opening lacking a lot of rhythm or tempo

This owes a lot to some uncertainty in an already reshuffled defense, Willis clearly struggling for at least five minutes Parkinson’s ultimately had to make a switch, giving Jack Diamond to impress and pushing McLaughlin into the bottom three, a position where he seemed more settled

The Black Cats enjoyed the vast majority of possession, with Swindon increasingly forced to go more direct to escape the press

The question for Sunderland was whether they would be able to break the hosts, given that their only significant effort in the first half hour came when Grant Leadbitter nearly caught up with goalkeeper Kovar

It was an ingenious effort, throwing a free kick 40 yards to the top corner Kovar was well out of his line, and was barely able to retrieve the ball as he returned to goal

Sunderland threw a deep throw into Swindon’s half, and Lynden Gooch exposed the home defense with a superb cross on his left foot Charlie Wyke, who had the opportunity to lead the line, n hadn’t received many serves but took the chance, bringing the volley home on his right foot

Their domination in the first half was reflected in Swindon making two unforced changes at the break, which helped to slightly reverse the momentum of the contest

The home team insisted they should have had a penalty when Jack Payne passed O’Nien in the box O’Nien seemed to knock him down but the referee stirred the game, much to the fury of the home dugout

Midfielder Matt Smith threw a shot right next to it soon after as the Black Cats were finally pushed back towards their goal

It was their most nervous spell in the game, but from that position of apparent vulnerability they were able to double their lead with a nice break The referee played an excellent advantage after a foul on Scowen, allowing Diamond to carry the ball away from danger He found Power, who opened up the home defense with an exceptional through ball Maguire made the right decision coming in through breaking into the area, cutting through and catching the fault of the desperate defender

Swindon continued to press and nearly returned to the game shortly after increasingly influential Jack Payne in possession whipped up a free kick from the bottom he himself won with a race behind the wheel. The head was pushed towards the goal and dropped right next to it, with Burge almost certainly beaten

Swindon continued to dominate possession in the playoffs, but other than a smart save from substitute Hope, Burge was again untested as the Black Cats got three points with relative ease.

Sunderland XI: Burge; Willis (Diamond, 18), Wright, McLaughlin; O’Nien, Leadbitter, Power, Gooch; Scowen, Maguire (O’Brien, 89), Wyke

Swindon Town XI: Kovar, Hunt (Stevens, 45), Odimayo, Baudry, Grounds, Donohue, Smith, Grant, Jaiyesimi (Smith, 45), Payne, Smith (Hope, 57)

Sunderland AFC, Swindon Town FC, EFL League One, Phil Parkinson, Charlie Wyke, Chris Maguire

World News – GB – Exactly how it went as Sunderland is fought for injuries to seal an extremely impressive victory


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