Sunderland 4-2 Barnsley
Sunderland survived a second-half scare to defeat Barnsley and clinch a memorable win at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening.
An electric opening blew away the visitors on a wet and windy Wearside night, with Aiden McGeady’s penalty opening the scoring before a moment of pure class from Josh Maja.
Lynden Gooch grabbed a third with just 32 minutes played, but Kieffer Moore pulled one back before the break to hand the Tykes a lifeline.
The forward notched a second after the hour mark to set alarm bells ringing at the Stadium of Light, with Daniel Stendel’s side throwing caution to the wind.
But they were caught out and caught cold six minutes from time, as Luke O’Nien clinched a massive three points.
After playing a key part in Saturday’s comeback, Chris Maguire was recalled to the starting XI as Bryan Oviedo dropped to the bench.
Max Power also started as the Lads began on the front foot, with Maja spurning a cracking chance wide on 12 minutes.
The striker should have found the target after connecting with a great cross from Reece James, but he wouldn’t have to wait long.
McGeady, who led the charge at the Bescott Stadium, has been in scintillating form since returning to fitness, and with 18 minutes played he was tripped in the box.
The referee pointed to the spot, and he calmly converted to bag his fifth goal in six games.
One minute later, Josh turned on the magic.
With one beautifully executed turn, the 19-year-old sent Ethan Pinnock to B&M before bending a sumptuous strike beyond Adam Davies.
Maja should have grabbed another on 23 minutes, but just like his earlier chance, the striker’s header glanced agonisingly wide.
The Lads contuned to run riot and bagged a third soon after, though, as further majestic play from McGeady fed Gooch, who saw his effort loop into the net.
Barnsley offered little in the way of forward play, but when Sunderland failed to clear they pounced to pull one back before the break, Moore providing the finish.
And there was further drama before the interval, as Cauley Woodrow cannoned a chance off the post.
Ross’ men regathered the momentum after the restart, as a barnstorming run from the impressive Adam Matthews lifted the Stadium of Light.
The Tyke responded, though, and the Black Cats were forced to dig deep, as multiple balls in the box caused momentary panic before being swiped to safety.
And the pressure eventually told, as Moore headed home at the near post just after the hour mark.
The Lads should have restored their two-goal lead soon after, as McGeady jinxed past his marker before fizzing a ball across the face of goal, but substitute O’Nien failed to connect.
And Maguire followed suit, as Davies rushed out of his box and thwarted the striker as he raced through on goal.
With six minutes remaining, O’Nien made no mistake.
Barnsley piled forward and were caught out at the back, with the unselfish McGeady putting a simple finish on a plate for the midfielder.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Flanagan, Baldwin, Matthews, James, Power, Honeyman (Oviedo 90), Maguire (Sinclair 84), Gooch, McGeady, Maja (O’Nien 59).
Subs not used: Patterson, Ozturk, Hackett, Mumba.