Scunthorpe United 1-1 Sunderland
Adam Hammill scored a speculative strike just seconds into his Scunthorpe debut to punish Sunderland and earn a share of the spoils.
The Black Cats looked on course to claim a vital three points in the race for promotion after Josh Maja had headed home his 16th goal of the season, but Hammill had other ideas as his 25-yard strike earned the hosts a point in the 88th minute.
Jimmy Dunne was handed his debut, coming in for Jack Baldwin in the heart of Sunderland’s backline as Jack Ross made a host of changes. Lee Cattermole returned to the line-up after serving his two-game suspension while Josh Maja also featured from the off after being struck down with illness last Saturday.
There was very little in it at the break despite a high octane start from both sides. Loan signing Dunne looked assured alongside the vocal presence of Northern Ireland international Tom Flanagan, with make-shift defender Luke O’Nien filling the right-back berth and Reece James occupying the other flank.
And it was that foundation that gave Sunderland an encouraging start at Glanford Park, with Max Power going close early as he saw his effort blocked inside the area.
Inform stopper Jon McLaughlin was then forced to make a string of vital stops to deny Scunthorpe hitting the front. Lee Novak read a nod down well from a deep free-kick and sneaked in unmarked before he was denied by the Scot. On loan midfielder George Thomas then almost capped a fine move for the hosts with a goal, but once again McLaughlin was there to make the stop.
Lynden Gooch provided a bright spark for the Lads in a first-half which had little to offer in front of goal. Maja was largely isolated and frustrated up top, but he did well to feed Chris Maguire late on, only for the midfielder to scoop his attempt high over the bar.
Ross wasted no time in making changes, replacing Maguire with the towering presence of Charlie Wyke up top in the 53rd minute and it wasn’t long before hid tactical change paid off.
Aiden McGeady playing a free role, drifted inside and fed Maja with his back to goal. The Magician spun his man and slipped the ball out to James who flew down the left. Maja continued his run into the box and met James’ cross from the byline with a bullet header to give Sunderland the all-important advantage.
From there on in it was pretty nip and tuck. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson steamed in unmarked at the back post and latched onto a free-kick, but hit touch was a poor one and McLaughlin gathered.
But the Scottish international was powerless to preventing Hammill’s equaliser just two minutes from time. The debutant found the top corner, right out of McLaughlin’s reach, with a fine 25-yard strike to earn the hosts a point.
Scunthorpe United: Alnwick, Borthwick-Jackson, McMahon, Ojo (Hammill, 75), Perch, Novak, Thomas (Lund, 86) Burgess, Sutton (van Veen, 75), McArdle. Wotton
Subs: Flatt, Webster, Lewis, McGahey
Sunderland: McLaughlin, James, O’Nien, Dunne, Flanagan, Cattermole, Power, Gooch, McGeady, Maguire (Wyke, 53), Maja (Watmore, 71)
Subs: Ruiter, Baldwin, Matthews, Oviedo, McGeouch