Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Sunderland AFC
Sunderland extended their unbeaten run to nine games on Wednesday evening, as Charlie Wyke’s header secured a 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers.
A hard-fought opening 45 minutes ended goalless at Prenton Park, with debutant Bailey Wright, who impressed throughout as the Lads clinched a fourth successive clean sheet, spurning the best opportunity of the first half.
The second period continued in a similar fashion, but the Lads’ patience and persistence paid off just after the hour mark when Wyke headed home at the near post.
Rovers continued to battle but Phil Parkinson’s side refused to be breached, with a late red card dashing any hopes of a late home flourish.
Sunderland crafted the first opening within five minutes of the first whistle, as Wright plundered the ball over from close range after connecting with Wyke’s knockdown.
Just a few moments later, a glorious opening fell to Keiron Morris, but his touch let him down and he spurned a clear run at goal.
Thunderous challenges followed as both sides set out their stalls, with Luke O’Nien requiring treatment after being clattered by Liam Ridehalgh before George Dobson picked up a yellow card for a crunching tackle on David Perkins.
Before the break, Jon McLaughlin was forced to push Kane Wilson’s curling free-kick to safety after Morgan Ferrier was fouled on the edge of the box.
Sunderland continued to probe following the restart, but they were forced to be patient as Tranmere continued to battle from back to front.
Ferrier also remained a threat on the break, but with 61 minutes on the clock Sunderland seized their chance.
Wyke was the man of the hour, reacting first to get ahead of his marker at the near post and flick a header into the net.
Rovers responded but the Black Cats held firm, as Wright threw his body on the line to block Morris’ ten-yard effort.
The home side’s hopes of a route back into the game were effectively ended on 84 minutes, as Manny Monthe picked up a second yellow card and received his marching orders.
The full-time whistle was greeted by deafening roars from the red and white army, as the Lads extended their unbeaten run to nine games.
Tranmere Rovers: Davies, Woods, Ridehalgh (Mullin 67), Monthe, Morris, Ferrier (Payne 78), Jennings, Caprice, Perkins (Gilmour 81), Wilson, Woodyard.
Subs not used: Pilling, Nelson, Potter, Spellman.
Sunderland AFC: J McLaughlin, Lynch, Willis, Power, Maguire (Scowen 90), Wyke, Gooch, O’Nien, Dobson, Wright, Hume.
Subs not used: Burge, C McLaughlin, Lafferty, McNulty, Flanagan, Leadbitter.