Walsall 2-2 Sunderland
Ten-man Sunderland roared back from 2-0 down to clinch a last-gasp point at Walsall on Saturday.
A bright start turned to dust on 22 minutes, with Max Power receiving his marching orders following of a heavy challenge on Liam Kinsella.
Walsall made the most of their advantage, but Dean Keates’ side had to wait until the second period to take the lead, as Josh Gordon turned home just 39 seconds after the restart.
Josh Ginnelly provided a moment of real quality on 52 minutes to increase the Saddlers’ advantage, but Aiden McGeady quickly pulled one back to set up a tantalising finale.
The Lads continued to fight until the end, and Lynden Gooch’s sublime finish in the 89th minute ensured a valient effort received a fitting reward.
Sunderland burst out of the blocks at the Bescott Stadium and were desperately unlucky not to take an early lead.
With seven minutes played, Oviedo delayed and delayed on the edge of the box before forcing Liam Roberts into his first save, and things didn’t ease up for the stopper.
Power’s rasping half-volley needed to be turned behind just moments later, while Jack Baldwin’s fine effort was also squandered clear as the Lads forced seven corners inside the first 12 minutes.
After weathering the storm, Walsall upped their game and forced Jon McLaughlin into his first save, and they were given a massive boost with 22 minutes played, as Power was dismissed.
Russell Martin headed wide soon after and the Saddlers kept up the pressure, with Andy Cook’s header ruled out for offside.
Miscommunication followed in the Sunderland ranks, as hesitant defending allowed George Robson to round McLaughlin, but the off-balance defender struck the post before the follow-up was cleared.
After making it to half-time on level terms, the Lads fell behind within 39 seconds of the restart.
Gordon provided the finish and there was more to come soon after, as Ginelly unleashed a thunderbolt to seemingly put the game out of Sunderland’s reach.
The Black Cats continued to battle against the odds, though, and hauled themselves back into the game with 62 minutes played, as McGeady’s low effort found the corner.
Adam Matthews the volleyed the ball across the face of goal and Chris Maguire was called off the bench, with Walsall rocking and the red and white army roaring their side forward.
The Welshman also saw an effort cleared off the line, but Gooch refused to be denied as the Black Cats maintained their unbeaten run.
Walsall: Roberts, Leahy, Dobson, Guthrie, Devlin, Cook, Ismali (Morris 37), Ginnelly, Kinsella, Gordon (Ferrier 80), Martin.
Subs not used: Dunn, Fitzwater, Wilson, Osbourne, Ronan.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Flanagan, Baldwin, Matthews, James, Power, Honeyman, Oviedo (O’Nien 49), Gooch, McGeady, Maja (Maguire 61).
Subs not used: Patterson, Loovens, Ozturk, Sinclair, Mumba.