Oldham Athletic 1-2 Sunderland AFC: Black Cats progress to next round of Papa John's Trophy
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Sunderland progress to the second Papa John's Trophy round of 16 after they set aside Harry Kewell's Oldham Athletic away from home.

Lee Johnson, in only his second game in charge and returning to the ground where he started his managerial career, named a strong side for the match and it eventually paid dividends.

It has perhaps been a tale of two different seasons for Oldham this year; away form which sees them among the best sides in League Two and a home record where Latics have struggled.

The match

Events before the match provided a bizarre setting for the game. First, kickoff was postponed by 20 minutes, with Sunderland arriving at the ground at 5:20 pm, forty minutes before kickoff. Then, a late change was made to the teamsheet - Tom Flanagan replaced Dion Sanderson, who had been named in the starting lineup despite being ineligible to play as he had already featured in the competition this season for Wolves' U21s.

Latics started the game well, being given lots of time on the ball and playing good passing moves around their half, taking the football to the opposition and creating good chances either through breaking down Sunderland through passing or through the pace of Dylan Bahmboula and Jordan Barnett.

Oldham have developed quite the reputation for long-range goals this season and it was the same once again for Tuesday night's opener. Bobby Grant picked the ball up around 25 yards from goal and sliced a low effort towards the bottom-right corner. Anthony Patterson got a hand to it but could not stop the ball from rolling into the back of the net.

However, after the goal, Oldham started to make simple mistakes and Sunderland capitalised on the defensive weaknesses on the left-hand side with usual defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson not named in Harry Kewell's 18-man squad. 

It was through a chance on the left wing which Sunderland levelled the scoring. A Jack Diamond cross came off Raphaël Diarra in the box and was then tapped in by Chris Maguire from close range, Barnett easily beaten out wide to allow the chance to be cvreated.

Second half

A worrying moment for Latics, Danny Rowe went down to the ground with a knock in the 57th minute. He was fortunately able to walk off the pitch but was immediately replaced by Dylan Fage.

Prior to his injury, Rowe hadn't had much of an impact, if any, on the game. Sunderland had evidently identified him as a potential point of danger and kept their players tight to him at all times, nullifying his ability to break through the defence. 

With Oldham struggling going forwards, it was a defensive error which ultimately resulted in Sunderland gaining the advantage. A heavy touch from Raphael Diarra left him under pressure from Will Grigg and after the Northern Ireland international picked up the ball, the defender fouled his man. Grant Leadbitter stepped up from the resulting free-kick and found the head of Josh Scowen, giving the Black Cats the lead.

It was yet another set piece which Harry Kewell's side have conceded this season, a clear weak point in their game.

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