Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Sunderland
Aiden McGeady’s stoppage-time penalty rescued a point for Sunderland at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
Both sides passed up clear-cut opportunities during an open first half, the best of which saw Dennis Politic strike the woodwork and Will Grigg head wide.
The home side opened the scoring five minutes after the restart, as Jack Hobbs thumped the ball into the roof of the net following Will Buckley’s knock down.
Luke O’Nien and Tom Flanagan were both denied by the woodwork, and Remi Matthews also produced a handful of impressive saves as the Lads chased an equaliser.
With only stoppage time separating Bolton from a first win of the campaign, a handball offered the Lads a golden chance to level – and McGeady made no mistake to secure a point.
Jack Ross made several changes for the trip to the University of Bolton Stadium, with the most notable seeing Grigg replacing the absent Marc McNulty.
Flanagan, Grant Leadbitter and Chris Maguire are also called into the side, while the Trotters selected former Black Cats Liam Bridcutt and Buckley.
A positive start from both sides resulted in a big chance after 10 minutes, as Buckley, who headed wide with the goal at his mercy, saw his blushes spared by an offside flag.
Nonetheless, it provided the winless the hosts with a notable lift, and 12 minutes later they went even closer, as Politic drove inside and fired against the post.
Sunderland stepped things up in the stages that followed, but an opening goal eluded them, as Grigg saw an effort charged down before heading wide at the back post moments later.
Maguire then forced Matthews into action before Flanagan headed wide, but the Lads didn’t have it all their own way, as Jason Lowe volleyed a spectacular effort inches wide.
A defensive switch saw Conor McLaughlin replace Denver Hume at the interval, and the right-back was immediately put under pressure, as Thibaud Verlinden evaded his challenge and charged into the box.
The winger’s cross failed to find a white shirt, but moments later he was causing trouble once more, and this time Sunderland ultimately paid the price.
After McLaughlin stuck out a leg to stop the winger in his tracks, the resulting free kick was headed back cross goal where Hobbs plundered it home.
The Black Cats almost struck back in style, but O’Nien’s volley crashed against the post, and the goalkeeper, before McGeady failed to convert the rebound.
Sunderland continued to seek a route back into the game, as Charlie Wyke and Max Power were introduced with plenty of time to spare.
As timed ebbed away, the Lads continued to throw bodies forward, as claims for a penalty were waved away after McGeady tumbled in the box.
Flying saves from Matthews following, with McGeady’s seemingly goalbound effort clawed away from the top corner before a similar strike from Gooch was turned away.
With five minutes of stoppage time to play, Yoan Zouma handled in the box and the referee pointed to the spot – and McGeady made no mistake to earn a share of the spoils.
Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Emmanuel, Lowe, Hobbs, Wright (Zouma 75), Buckley, Crawford, Chicksen, Verlinden (Murphy 88), Politic, Bridcutt.
Subs not used: Alexander, Weird, Darcy, Brown, Senior.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Willis, Flanagan, O’Nien, Hume (C McLaughlin 45), Leadbitter (Power 74), Dobson, Maguire (Wyke 66), Gooch, McGeady, Grigg.
Subs not used: Burge, Ozturk, McGeouch, Embleton.