Lee Johnson got his first victory as Sunderland head coach at the second time of asking, narrowly beating League Two side Oldham Athletic to progress to the next round of the Papa John’s Trophy.
His side fell behind early on to a long range Bobby Grant strike but were able to turn the game around through a first half Chris Maguire strike and a Josh Scowen goal in the second half.
Story of the game
Lee Johnson put out a strong side, clearly eyeing this tournament as a catalyst for his side to find form quickly.
One of the few changes he made from Saturday's defeat against Wigan Athletic was youngster Anthony Patterson in goal. He was at fault for Oldham's goal on thirteen minutes.
The defence didn't cover themselves in glory, allowing Bobby Grant the space to progress and release a well hit shot from distance which ended up in the bottom right hand corner but question marks must be asked of Patterson, who was slow to get across his line and ended up being comfortably beat.
Sunderland responded well which will please Johnson, however they had similar issues to the weekend. Jack Diamond would beat his man and get to the byline but when he threw the cross in no Sunderland player was occupying the box.
That was until on the half hour, Diamond again getting to the line and throwing a cross in, the clearance was fluffed and Chris Maguire was on hand to level from close range.
After the half, Sunderland were rarely troubled but couldn't quite find the second until they brought on Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady after sixty three minutes. The payoff was almost instant, a good cross from Grant Leadbitter was met by the head of Josh Scowen to give Sunderland the lead.
Happy with their lead, Sunderland sat back and nearly paid for it late on. With ten minutes left Bailey Wright lost his footing allowing Davis Keillor-Dunn to break in, but despite already being on his way down he stretched out a hand and clawed the ball to safety.
Man of the match: Jack Diamond
The only bright spark of a dire game, Diamond excites fans. He wants to beat his man and while sometimes he overplays it, he drives Sunderland attacks forward when on the pitch. Johnson trusts youth and if he gives Diamond a run, not only will it win fans but he could be key to the promotion charge.
Still much to improve
While Sunderland won, the problems are still there. Players often didn’t gamble and they made a League Two side look good for periods of the game. It's early in his reign, but Lee Johnson might be working out that it's harder to get the high level of performance that he wants from his players than it may seem.