Match Report: Sunderland 1-1 Gillingham

Sunderland 1-1 Gillingham


Sunderland and Gillingham played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon, meaning the sides will meet again in an Emirates FA Cup replay.


It was a tale of two goalkeepers as the Stadium of Light, as both stoppers endured moments to forget.


Aiden McGeady handed the Lads an early lead, with the winger’s strike sneaking under Jack Bonham to ensure the Black Cats led at the break.


The Gills struck back within seconds of the restart, though, as Oliver Lee’s free-kick was plundered over his own line by Jon McLaughlin.


Luke O’Nien and Lee both went close to converting fizzed crosses, but it ended level and a replay will determine who progresses into round two.


Phil Parkinson named a strong starting XI at the Stadium of Light, as Luke O’Nien, Chris Maguire, McGeady and Will Grigg featured in the final third.


Joel Lynch, Jordan Willis and Max Power were also recalled, while former Black Cat Mikael Mandron led the line for the visitors.


A tepid start on a bitter Wearside afternoon did little to warm those in attendance, but with 15 minutes on the clock, the Lads took the lead.


Gillingham failed to adequately clear their lines and allowed McGeady to pull the trigger, and although the winger didn’t catch the ball cleanly, ‘keeper Bonham let it squirm through his grasp. 


Steve Evans’ side showed little intent in the final third in the first 45, but they almost levelled when Conor McLaughlin’s header grazed the outside of his namesake’s post.


The Lads remained firmly in control, and Maguire thumped a venomous volley inches wide in added time, but it remained 1-0 at the interval.


That all changed within 60 seconds of the restart.


Lee’s powerful free-kick was straight at McLaughlin, but as stopper batted the ball down, it deflected through his legs and over the line.


Sunderland found themselves under the cosh in the stages that followed, with Parkinson opting for a change after the hour mark.


Marc McNulty was the man called upon to fire the Lads into round two, and after a slight lull, the game sparked back into life.


An inviting cross from McGeady slide inches away from O’Nien’s reach, while Lee saw an effort deflect inches wide at the other end.


But there was nothing to separate the sides after 90 minutes, and they will do it all over again to decide a play in round two.


Sunderland: J McLaughlin, Willis, Lynch, C McLaughlin, De Bock, Power, Dobson, O’Nien, Maguire (Watmore 77), McGeady, Grigg (McNulty 65).
Substitutes: Burge, McGeouch, Flanagan, Leadbitter, Kimpioka.


Gillingham: Bonham, O’Keefe, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Hanlan, Mandron, Fuller, Jones, Byrne, Lee (Charles-Cook 90), O’Connor.
Subs not used: Walsh, Hodson, Ndjoli, Pringle, Jakubiak, Tucker. 


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