A huge game in the race for the playoffs in the Sky Bet Championship took centre stage at the Stadium of Light on a chilly Friday night. Michael Beale’s Sunderland lost narrowly on the road last time out at Ipswich Town, while Hull suffered the same fate at home to Norwich City.
SUN: Patterson; Seelt, O’Nien, Ballard, Hume; Neil, Ekwah; Pritchard, Clarke, Bellingham; Rusyn
HUL: Allsop; Coyle, Jones, Greaves, Jacob; Morton, Docherty, Slater; Tufan, Lokilo, Carvalho
It was a fairly timid start to matters at the Stadium of Light, with both sides trying to catch each other out early doors. The first half-chance of the game came courtesy of Alex Pritchard, who received the ball from Dan Ballard and raced towards goal. Having squirmed through on goal, the former Huddersfield man couldn’t outwit Ryan Allsop with his final shot from just outside the box.
In a first half that severely lacked in quality, Lewie Coyle was the next player to try his luck after some good build-up play from the Tigers, but his first-time shot from a few yards out whistled just past the bar. More intricate build-up play from Liam Rosenior’s side saw Coyle through on goal again, but the end product was far tamer, leaving Anthony Patterson to collect the ball comfortably.
Up the other end, however, Sunderland could have had the lead just before half-time, but Alex Pritchard scooped his close-range effort over the bar; leaving Ryan Allsop to breathe a sigh of relief.
For the first ten minutes of the second half, neutral viewers could have been forgiven for believing this clash between two playoff-chasing sides would finish goalless, but as the game hit the hour mark, the deadlock was almost broken in spectacular style, but Trai Hume’s superb volley was steered to safety wonderfully by Ryan Allsop. Dan Ballard also headed just wide of the far post from a corner minutes after.
The deadlock was finally broken with just twenty minutes to go, and it was a excellent way to do so. A corner was swung in from the right hand side before being cleared back out towards Tyler Morton. The Liverpool loanee kept the ball alive and whipped it in towards fellow Reds loanee Fabio Carvalho, who fired home on the volley past Anthony Patterson; albeit with the help of a deflection.Embed from Getty Images
There was a sense of desperation from Michael Beale’s Black Cats as they hunted for an equalising goal. However, a potential leveller eluded the home side and Hull City left the Stadium of Light with a monumental three points.
Both sides are in Championship action next time out, albeit on different dates. Michael Beale’s Sunderland welcome an improving Stoke City side to the Stadium of Light on January 27th at 3pm, while Hull City host Millwall at the MKM Stadium a week later – also at 3pm.