Match Report: An afternoon to forget

Peterborough United 3-0 Sunderland

Sunderland’s unbeaten start to the season came to an abrupt end this afternoon at the Weston Homes Stadium as Peterborough United claimed the points. 

Marcus Maddison dispatched a first-half free-kick from 25 yards to give the hosts the lead before Josh Knight doubled their advantage early in the second period.

Maddison then netted his third of the season to seal the points, with Luke O’Nien and Charlie Wyke later sent off as Sunderland ended a miserable afternoon with nine men.

The Black Cats travelled south on the back of a five-game winning run while the Posh had enjoyed an emphatic 4-0 victory last time out, recording their second successive clean sheet in the process. 

Jack Ross was forced into making two changes from the XI that started against AFC Wimbledon. Denver Hume and Chris Maguire missed out through injury, resulting in Conor McLaughlin filling in at full-back and Marc McNulty leading the line with Charlie Wyke. 

Gleaming with confidence after the win over MK Dons last Saturday, it was Darren Ferguson’s side which started the better. Summer signing Mo Eisa, who had scored four times in six appearances this season before kick-off, had two early sightings. 

His first was wildly smacked over the bar but his second was much crisper and forced Jon McLaughlin to make a smart stop away to his right side.

Sunderland grew into the first half as time wore on but never really tested Christy Pym in the Posh goal, as both sides seemingly had the measure of each other.

Or, until the 36th minute at least. Peterborough seized possession on the halfway line, drove forward and then were stopped in their tracks as Luke O’Nien fouled Eisa 25 yards from goal. 

Maddison was quickly onto the scene to place the ball down, and the winger, who has been the subject of much transfer speculation this summer, sent a speculative effort whistling past McLaughlin to give the hosts the lead and send them on course for their third straight win in League One.

Sunderland dusted themselves during the break and came out much the brighter side, with Grant Leadbitter swinging in a number of testing set-pieces in the opening minutes.

However, it didn’t last and with just seven minutes of the second period played the Posh gained full control of the fixture.

Ferguson’s side hit Sunderland on the counter, a quick shift of play from left to right saw things open up for Knight and the midfielder rattled home a venomous effort across McLaughlin’s goal.

It was clinical finish, Peterborough’s first attempt of the half, that meant Sunderland were facing an uphill task if they were to get anything from the game.

McNulty went close to halving the deficit but saw his effort palmed clear by Pym, and just minutes later Maddison grabbed his second to all but seal the points for the Posh.

George Body was the creator, laying it into the on-rushing path of Maddison who swept his effort across goal and into the far corner with 26 minutes still left to play. 

Sunderland’s afternoon then took another turn for the worst as two reds in eight minutes, firstly for O’Nien and then for Wyke, saw the Lads end the game with nine men.  

Peterborough United: Pym, Butler, Beevers, Kent, Eisa (Dembele, 63), Knight, Maddison, Reed, Toney, Boyd, Mason (Thompson, 84)
Subs: O’Malley, Bennett, Tasdemir, Ward, Burrows 

Sunderland: J McLaughlin, C McLaughlin, Willis, Ozturk, Power, Wyke, McNulty (Flanagan, 75), Gooch (Grigg, 63), O’Nien, McGeady (Dobson, 78), Leadbitter

Subs: Burge, McGeouch, Baldwin, Embleton

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