Match Report: Power salvages home point

Sunderland claimed a vital a point in the hunt for promotion against Fleetwood Town on Tuesday night, thanks to Max Power’s 97th minute strike. 

Barrie McKay’s goal opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he slotted under Jon McLaughlin to give the visitors the lead. 

Chris Maguire then went close for Sunderland when he saw an effort crash off the woodwork soon after. 

But patience paid off for the Lads and just as they looked down and out, Power curled an effort into the bottom corner with virtually the last kick of the game to send the Stadium of Light into uproar. 

Phil Parkinson named an unchanged starting XI from Saturday’s win over Bristol Rovers, with Alim Ozturk once again deputising for the injured Bailey Wright. 

Joey Barton’s side came into the clash on the back of five straight victories, knowing a win would take them level with the Black Cats.

After just 30 seconds the Lads had Jon McLaughlin to thank for keeping the score at 0-0, when the Scottish stopper made a fine block from McKay one on one.

But in the fifth minute, McKay did find a way past McLaughlin when the Swansea City loanee raced in behind and fired the ball home. 

The Stadium of Light crowd roared the Black Cats on in response, and Chris Maguire went close to an instant equaliser when he took aim after Denver Hume’s cross, but it was deflected behind by Harry Souttar.

Parkinson’s men began to grow into the game as it wore on, and created their best opportunity just before the half-hour mark.

Luke O’Nien and Jordan Willis combined down the right to tee up Maguire, but the crossbar denied the winger his 11th league goal of the campaign.

The Lads continued to push the Cod Army back and went inches from an equaliser five minutes before the break, when Lynden Gooch cut inside and made room for a shot, but it rolled agonisingly wide of post.

Neither side fashioned any clear-cut chances before the 60-minute mark. 

Skipper Power attempted a trademark long-range strike just after half-time, but Alex Cairns just about held on between the Fleetwood posts.

And then at the other end,  towering centre-back Souttar evaded his marker and nodded narrowly over the bar.

Antoine Semenyo and Kyle Lafferty were introduced as the Lads looked to grab a late equaliser, and the former almost provided the spark.

He picked the ball up deep into injury time and unleashed a left-footed drive that was deflected to safety. 

But the Lads wouldn’t be beaten.

In the 97th minute, Lafferty nodded the ball down to Duncan Watmore, he then laid the ball off to Power who curled a fine effort into the corner of the net and the Stadium of Light erupted. 

The result leaves Sunderland three points off the automatic promotion places, with a trip to Coventry City next up on Sunday.

Sunderland AFC: J McLaughlin, Willis (Watmore 86), Ozturk, Power, Maguire, Wyke, Gooch, Flanagan, O’Nien, Dobson (Lafferty 75), Hume (Semenyo 65)

Subs not used: Burge, C McLaughlin, Smith,

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Andrew, Connolly, Souttar, Burns (Saunders 84), Whelan, Coutts (Sowerby 76), Madden, Gibson, McKay (Morris 76)

Subs not used: Crellin, Thorvaldsson, Biggins, Holgate 

Attendance: 28,255

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