Sunderland 1-0 AFC Wimbledon
Sunderland returned to Sky Bet League One action with a win on Saturday, as AFC Wimbledon were defeated at the Stadium of Light.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the opening period, but deadline-day arrival Lewis Morgan impressed on his first start for the club.
Kazaiah Sterling also made his debut, coming on just before the hour mark, and Lads were celebrating soon after, as Aiden McGeaady dispatched a ruthless finish into the corner.
Wimbledon worked tirelessly to the last minute, but the Lads closed out the game to earn the three points.
The Dons impressed during the reverse fixture at Kingsmeadow, and they started brightly on Wearside.
Despite entering the game bottom of the table, Wally Downes’ side mustered the first effort on goal, as Anthony Wordsworth fired off target.
George Honeyman, who made his first appearance since the pre-Christmas trip to Portsmouth, sparked into life moments later, shooting wide before picking out Charlie Wyke, who was swarmed upon by the Dons inside the box.
With nine minutes played, Jon McLaughlin was scurrying back to his goal to claw Wordsworth’s spectacular halfway-line effort wide, and the danger wasn’t over there.
From the resulting corner, and with the goal at his mercy, Will Nightingale blazed over from close range.
Grant Leadbitter saw two efforts come and go in the stages that followed, but the remainder of the opening 45 minutes was pretty flat, as neither side managed to edge in front.
The start of the second period was a little more open, but chances remained at a premium for both sides.
Jack Ross made his first change just before the hour mark, as Kazaiah Sterling replaced Charlie Wyke, and Luke O’Nien was introduced a few minutes later.
In need of a moment of magic, McGeady stepped up and delivered with 67 minutes played.
Wimbledon failed to clear their lines and the winger was bearing down on them in a flash, teasing his way into space before lashing a thumping finish beyond Aaron Ramsdale.
Scott Wagstaff spurned the visitors’ best chance of an equaliser with 83 minutes played, striking a tame effort at Jon McLaughlin one on one.
And it was plain sailing from there, as the Lads returned to winning ways in League One.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Matthews, Wyke (Sterling 60), Honeyman (O’Nien 65), Flanagan, James, Morgan (Watmore 83), McGeady, Leadbitter, Power, Dunne.
Subs not used: Ruiter, Maguire, McGeouch, Baldwin.
AFC Wimbledon: Ramsdale, Watson (Sibbick 69), Oshilaja, Nightingale, Thomas, Wagstaff, Appiah, Pinnock (Pigott 75), Seddon, Connolly (Jervis 67), Wordsworth.
Subs not used: McDonnell. Hartigan, McDonald, McLoughlin.