Plymouth Argyle 0-2 Sunderland
Aiden McGeady’s double ensured Sunderland’s longest trip of the campaign was a successful one, as Plymouth Argyle were dispatched on Saturday.
A gritty first-half saw the home side frustrate Jack Ross’ side, but a moment of magic from McGeady shattered the deadlock with 53 minutes played.
Plymouth responded excellently and put Jon McLaughlin under immense pressure, but the stopper was equal to it and added another batch of fine saves to his show reel.
The Lads needed a second and when Luke O’Nien won a penalty it was game over, as McGeady made no mistake from the spot.
Victory saw Sunderland moved up to second in Sky Bet League One.
Ross named an attacking starting XI for the game, as Josh Maja returned to the starting XI was backed up McGeady, Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch.
Plymouth were up and at it during the opening stages, but it didn’t take long for Sunderland’s free-flowing passing to wrestle control of the game.
Off balance, Maja scooped the Lads’ first sight at goal wide before Maguire’s low drive was pushed to safety by Matt Macey.
The home side edged their way back into the game as the first-half unfolded, but their final ball let them down, and they failed to register a meaningful effort on McLaughlin’s goal.
Dylan McGeouch continued to dictate the play in the midfield hub, while Reece James provided a threat down the left, but it remained goalless at the interval.
Sunderland burst out of the blocks follow the restart, and with 53 minutes on the clock their hard work paid off.
McGeady provided the spark, waltzing his way across the edge of the box and waiting for the right time to pull the trigger, before bending a sumptuous strike beyond Macey.
Argyle rallied and had it not been for the latest edition of McLaughlin heroics, they would have levelled.
After clawing Graham Carey’s thumping 20-yard free-kick out of the corner, the Scotland international dusted himself down and stuck out a hand to push Freddie Ladapo’s low effort behind.
Ross made changes to turn the tide, with Luke O’Nien and Jerome Sinclair providing fresh legs.
And the former made an instant impact, throwing himself towards the ball and winning a penalty that was tucked home by McGeady.
That proved to be that, as the Lads moved up to second in the table.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Baldwin, Flanagan, Matthews, James, McGeouch, Honeyman, Maguire (O’Nien 75), Gooch (Mumba 88), McGeady, Maja (Sinclair 73).
Substitutes: Ruiter, Ozturk, Loovens, Kimpioka.