Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Sunderland
Sunderland were undone by a Darius Charles strike on Saturday, as Phil Parkinson’s first game in charge ended in defeat against Wycombe Wanderers.
Back in the side, Lee Burge impressed during the opening exchanges, but the goalkeeper was powerless to deny Charles, who lashed the ball home on the half-hour mark.
Will Grigg was introduced ahead of the restart, with further reinforcements called upon soon after, and the Lads went within inches of a late equaliser when Aiden McGeady’s strike was tipped onto the crossbar.
The Chairboys held on, though, to cement their grip on second in Sky Bet League One.
Parkinson made changes for his first game in charge, as Burge and Duncan Watmore were handed their first league starts of the campaign.
Captain Grant Leadbitter partnered Max Power and former Chairboy Luke O’Nien in midfield, with Charlie Wyke leading the line.
Backed by a lively away following, Sunderland made a bright start to proceedings at Adams Park and they mustered the first chance, but McGeady’s long-range effort dipped just off target.
Wyke had the ball in the net with 20 minutes played, but despite finding a way past Ryan Allsop at the second attempt, the offside flag was raised well before his conversion.
Seconds later, the Wycombe players erupted – and the home side’s bench did the same – as play was waved on despite a contentious coming together between Joel Lynch and David Wheeler.
Burge repaid the faith shown in him in the stages that followed, clawing a pinpoint free-kick away from the top corner when it looked destined to open the scoring.
But there was little the stopper could do about the Chairboy’s next effort, as Charles buried Adebayo Akinfenwa’s knockdown from ten yards.
A similar move saw an effort flash wide before the break, while Jack Grimmer made a crucial intervention at the other end to deny McGeady and ensure the home side led at the break.
Grigg replaced Wyke, who was unable to continue due to an ankle injury, ahead of the restart, and the forward held up the ball well, allowing his team-mates press into opposition territory.
The wait for a golden opportunity continued, though, and Chris Maguire and Marc McNulty also entered the fray, as Parkinson’s men looked to strike back.
Wycombe should have sealed three points on 81 minutes, but Akinfenwa’s wayward back-post header sailed wide to ensure a grandstand finale remained on the cards.
And McGeady almost provided a moment of magic, but Allsop somehow diverted the winger’s golabound effort onto the woodwork to ensure it ended 1-0.
Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, Grimmer, Jacobsen, Stewart, Charles, Gape, Bloomfield (Pattison 77), Freeman, Aarons (Parker 90), Wheeler, Akinfenwa.
Subs not used: Yates, Jombati, Kashket, Mascoll, Phillips.
Sunderland AFC: Burge, McLaughlin, Lynch, Willis, Power, Wyke (Grigg 45), O’Nien, Watmore (Maguire 62), McGeady, Leadbitter (McNulty 70), Hume.
Subs not used: J McLaughlin, Gooch, Flanagan, Dobson.