AFC Wimbledon 1-1 Sunderland AFC
Sunderland were held to a 1-1 draw at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
The Lads dominated the early exchanges at Plough Lane, but they fell behind when Luke McCormick converted from the penalty spot.
Alex Pritchard’s second free-kick of the week levelled the affair on 35 minutes, as the opening 45 minutes ended all square.
New Head Coach Alex Neil introduced Patrick Roberts and Jermain Defoe in the second period, but it ended level in South-West London.
Neil’s first starting XI included three changes, as Bailey Wright, Carl Winchester and Dan Neil returned in place of Danny Batth, Corry Evans and Leon Dajaku.
The Black Cats started on the front foot at Plough Loan and dominated possession in the opening 15 minutes, with Jack Clarke seeing plenty of the ball on his second start in red and white.
However, it was the Dons that struck first when McCormick netted from the spot after Callum Doyle was harshly punished after blocking Jack Rudoni’s cross with a hand.
The opener somewhat shifted the momentum in South-West London and Anthony Patterson produced an excellent save soon after to claw XXXX’s goalbound effort to safety.
Sunderland struck back with 35 minutes on the clock, as Pritchard repeated his midweek feat and slammed a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.
The first opening of the second period fell in the Lads’ favour, but a timely challenge denied Ross Stewart from 10 yards just as the striker looked to pull the trigger.
Neil made a double change on the hour mark, as Corry Evans and Defoe entered the fray and the Black Cats went in search of a winner.
Jay Matete, who provided real energy in midfield throughout, picked up a yellow card, and Roberts was also introduced for the final 20 minutes, as the home side continued to hold firm.
Patterson denied McCormick and Ayoub Assal at the other end as the game entered the closing stages, but it remained level at the full-time whistle after McCormick saw red in added time.
AFC Wimbledon: Tzanev, Osew, Heneghan, Nightingale, Brown, McCormick, Marsh, Rudoni, Chislett (Hartigan 76), Assal, Cosgrove (Cosgrave 79).
Subs not used: Alexander, Awokoya-Mebude, Kalambayi, Kalinauskas, Broome.
Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Hume, Wright, Doyle, Cirkin, Neil, Matete, Winchester (Evans 62), Pritchard, Clarke (Defoe 62), Stewart (Roberts 73).
Substitutes: Carney, Dajaku, Embleton, Xhemajli.