Match report: Baldwin strikes to earn a point

Sunderland 1-1 Blackpool

Sunderland fought back from 1-0 down to claim a point against Blackpool at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening.

In the first of three successive home games under the Wearside lights, Jack Ross’ side asserted themselves early on and put the visitors on the back foot, but they fell behind after the half-hour mark.

Both sides had a fair share of chances throughout the half, with Sunderland edging the possession stats and responding well following the opener, but the Tangerines led at the interval.

The Black Cats were the dominant side for the majority of the second half, and they should have levelled when Will Grigg rounded the ‘keeper and fired into the side-netting.  

But a leveller was just around the corner, as Jack Baldwin powered a bullet header into the net with 15 minutes remaining.

A grandstand finale was teed up, but the Tangerines held on to clinch a point.

Sunderland started the game well by winning two successive corners in the first two minutes, with the second better utilized as Mark Howard was forced into action for the first time.

The opening ten minutes saw Sunderland have the edge over their opponents, with the Black Cats winning a number of free kicks and corners, resulting in decent chances, but without providing any clear-cut opportunities.

George Honeyman had one of the best chances in the opening half hour, with his volley from the six-yard box saved by Howard, and Lynden Gooch posed a regular threat by making darting runs and providing dangerous through balls.

Will Grigg was provided with Sunderland’s best chance of the half with 29 minutes played, when Duncan Watmore picked him out during a blistering counter attack.

However, Howard once again made a good save to deny the Northern Ireland international his first goal for the club.

Against the run of play, Armand Gnanduillet gave Blackpool the lead in the 30th minute with a left-footed shot from outside of the box.

Moments after the restart, there was a penalty appeal for Sunderland, however, the referee waved play on and a goal kick was awarded.

McGeady came inches away from an equaliser following the appeal, but his fantastic free-kick struck the outside of the post. 

Blackpool came close to a second before half time, as Ben Heneghan headed wide at the back post, but it remained 1-0 at the interval.

The beginning of the second half saw end-to-end football, with both sides having decent attacks without managing to find a decisive second goal.

In the 52nd minute, Gooch made way for Charlie Wyke, who was brought on to partner Grigg in attack.

And Sunderland’s second substitution came soon after when McGeady made way for Lewis Morgan.

Grigg spurned a cracking opportunity as time ticked away, as he took the ball past the onrushing Tangerines goalkeeper but was unable to finish, as his attempt hit the side-netting.

In the 75th minute, Sunderland were awarded a corner and Grant Leadbitter provided a fantastic delivery that was equally met by Jack Baldwin, who headed it home to bring the Lads back on level terms.

But despite pushing until the final whistle, it remained 1-1.

Sunderland: McLaughlin, Baldwin, Dunne, O’Nien, James (Flanagan 79), Leadbitter, Honeyman, Gooch (Wyke 52), McGeady (Morgan 62), Watmore, Grigg.
Subs not used: Ruiter, Maguire, McGeouch, Sterling.

Blackpool: Howard, Heneghan, Delfouneso, Pritchard, Thompson, Tilt, Virtue (Kirby 90), Turton, Gnanduillet, Bola (Feeney 7), Evans (Long 73).
Subs not used: Dodoo, Sorensen, Shaw, Mafoumbi.

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