Sunderland AFC 1-1 Burton Albion
Sunderland left it late to claim a point at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night, as Ross Stewart’s header spared blushes following Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s second-half strike.
Events of the evening were overshadowed by a medical emergency regarding a supporter in the West Stand of the Stadium of Light occurring in the opening stages of the game – the very best wishes and thoughts of all at the club are with the supporter and their family.
Ahead of the match, Alex Neil handed Jermain Defoe his first start since re-joining the club, whilst Lynden Gooch returned to the XI after a minor injury.
After a lengthy stoppage following the medical emergency, the game resumed, but chances were sporadic at both ends – Stewart meeting Gooch’s ball but seeing his shot denied by Ben Garratt.
Anthony Patterson was on hand at the other end to deny Oumar Niasse with a strong hand, before the follow-up was blocked well by Corry Evans in front of the goal-line.
Defoe then turned and advanced forward before sending a left-footed strike off target from the edge of the area, as the sides went in at half-time goalless.
After an edgy opening eight minutes to the second half, Burton took the lead. Borthwick-Jackson received Jonny Smith’s pass down the left and got in behind the Sunderland back line, firing a clinical strike into the far corner.
As the Lads searched for an immediate response, Garratt showed good hands to save and hold Carl Winchester’s shot as he cut inside onto his left foot, substitute Elliot Embleton the next to try the same effort but firing wide.
Patterson was then to thank for a vital save to deny Christian Saydee as the Brewers broke forward, before Winchester’s strike from outside the area dipped onto the roof of the net via a Burton touch.
Try as Sunderland might, they continued to come forward with a succession of deliveries into the box, Conor Shaughnessy cutting out a cross which was almost pinpoint to Stewart.
But three minutes into added time, Stewart finally found the telling touch as he headed home Alex Pritchard’s delivery for his 20th league goal of the season.
As a much-needed victory remains urgent, next up for Neil’s men is Saturday’s trip to Wigan Athletic.
SUNDERLAND AFC: Patterson, Winchester, Wright, Doyle, Cirkin, Evans © (Embleton 61’), Matete, Pritchard, Gooch (Neil 74’), Defoe (Clarke 70’), Stewart.
Subs not used: Hoffmann, Batth, Dajaku, Roberts.
Burton Albion: Garratt, Brayford ©, Shaughnessy, Hughes, Hamer, Smith (Chapman 69’), Lakin, Mancienne, Powell, Borthwick-Jackson, Niasse (Saydee 65’).
Subs not used: Kovar, Kokolo, Rowe, Taylor, Ahadme.