Grimsby Town 0-1 Sunderland
Jack Ross picked up his first win as Sunderland manager on Tuesday evening, as Grimsby Town were beaten at Blundell Park.
The Lads stepped things up a gear during their third pre-season outing, with Callum McManaman and Chris Maguire proving their worth in the final third.
Lynden Gooch scored the only goal of the encounter on the half-hour mark, sending a diving header into the net after connecting with Maguire’s pinpoint delivery.
Both sides were tested defensively but the Mariners were unable to breach the Black Cats’ defences, as Ross oversaw the first victory of his tenure.
Maguire led the line at Blundell Park as Gooch and McManaman started on the flanks, with George Honeyman, Ethan Robson and Dylan McGeouch forming the midfield.
Max Stryjek started between the posts and Tom Flanagan lined up next to youngster Brandon Taylor in the heart of defence, as Jon McLaughlin, Alim Ozturk, Reece James and Lee Cattermole didn’t travel.
McManaman carried Sunderland’s biggest threat at Hartlepool United last time out, and the winger made a tenacious start to proceedings against the Mariners.
Direct and desperate for the ball, the former Wigan Athletic man gave his full-back a torrid time during the opening stages, but it was Gooch who fired the first shot at goal as Grimsby threw bodies on the line.
With 19 minutes played, the home side mustered their first meaningful attempt, as Jordan Cooke bent a 25-yard free-kick just wide of the post.
The former Sunderland striker looped a header into the arms of Stryjek soon after, but the Lads responded with a volley of chances as Donald Love, Robson and Maguire eyed the opener.
McManaman continued to toil and had Gooch been a fraction taller, he would have connected with the winger’s latest pinpoint cross with 28 minutes played.
But two minutes later the forward did connect, and the red and white army were on their feet.
A sumptuous cross from Maguire gave the Mariners backline absolutely no chance, as Gooch nipped in and planted a diving header into the bottom corner.
Maguire almost grabbed a second on the stroke of half-time, curling a speculative effort across the face of goal and inches wide.
Grimsby might well have equalised three minutes into the second period, but Stryjek was quick off his line to smother JJ Fox before an offside flag ended the attack.
Honeyman once again captained the Lads and the next opportunity fell at his feet, but the academy graduate headed wide as Maguire supplied another menacing cross.
Grimsby remained in the game as Alex Whitmore thundered the ball wide at the back post, with Michael Jolley calling upon fresh legs on the hour mark.
Bali Mumba and Adam Matthews were also introduced, but the Mariners continued to push forward as substitute Robbin Ruiter was plunged straight into the action to deny Jake Hessenthaler.
Josh Maja and Benji Kimpioka were next to enter the fray, and after grabbing a debut goal at Victoria Park the latter went close from a similar position within moments of his introduction.
But it remained 1-0, as the Lads picked up the first win of a new era.
Attendance: 1,776 (439)
Grimsby Town (first-half): McKeown (A. Rose 60), Whitmore (Hall-Johnson 60), Collins (Whitmore 74), Famewo, Clifton (Russell 60), Rose (Davies 60), Welsh (Dixon 60), Woolford (Hessenthaler 60), Fox (Robles 60), Hooper (Trialist 60), Cook (Trialist 60).
Sunderland: Stryjek (Ruiter 66), Flanagan, Taylor, Love, Hume (Matthews 66), Honeyman, Robson (Mumba 59), McGeouch (Kimpioka 74), Gooch, McManaman (Maja 71), Maguire.
Subs not used: Hackett, Molyneux, Storey, Kokolo.