Sunderland 1-1 AFC Wimbledon: Wright volley salvages point for Black Cats 
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

A much changed Sunderland side could only stumble to a draw against a resolute and dangerous AFC Wimbledon

Joe Piggott had gave the visitors the lead from the spot in the first half but a great Bailey Wright volley cancelled that out midway through the second half. 

Story of the game

Sunderland, ravished by a Coronavirus outbreak at the Academy of Light, were without a number of key players including top goalscorer Charlie Wyke

It showed as they lacked any real quality in the attacking third. Wyke's replacement Will Grigg is clearly low on confidence and despite firing straight at Conel Trueman in the AFC Wimbledon goal, his quick turn to create the space was excellent. 

What followed was a half of little cutting edge, Sunderland were on top but were either hitting it straight at the keeper or blazing over the bar. 

The first actual save of note was by Lee Burge in the Sunderland goal. Ryan Longman who was the Dons biggest threat all evening, went on a run cutting through the heart of Sunderland's defence before Burge was on hand to deny him from close range and stop what would have been a great solo run. 

Clearly woken by this, Sunderland had a big chance of their own. Bailey Wright sliding the ball down the channel for Elliott Embleton to run onto, he quickly shifted it onto his left foot and had a pop but Trueman was equal to it. 

The next big moment after 43 minutes ended in an AFC Wimbledon opener. Dons academy graduate Rudi Rudoni bursting into the box and drawing contact from the Sunderland defender, leaving referee James Oldham no choice but to point at the spot. 

The experienced Wimbledon captain Joe Pigott stepped up and made no mistake to give the visitors the lead going into the break. 

Sunderland had a lot of possession but very little of substance to show for it while AFC Wimbledon had come with a plan to sit behind the ball but it was working and they looked capable of more of the break.

The second half followed a similar pattern of play, Sunderland had possession but couldn't carve a chance out. Approaching the hour mark it seemed to be another home game where Sunderland found a way to lose a game they had dominated. 

Just when hope seemed lost, Bailey Wright stepped up after 63 minutes. Jack Diamond who was a bright spark again for Sunderland found the Aussie at the back post, he took the ball down well, held off the defender and volleyed beyond Trueman to restore parity. 

That parity was nearly shorted lived, Longman again driving Wimbledon forward hitting a shot from distance which crashed off the crossbar. 

They remained the more prominent threat and should have had a second. A great move ended after 75 with Shane McLoughlin in the box but he blazed wide to let slack Sunderland defending off. They were let off again two minutes later, Terrell Thomas steering his shot wide after getting on the end of a corner. 

That was the last big chance of the game. Sunderland offered little in attack late on, despite bringing promising youngster Mitchell Curry on for his 1st team debut. 

Man of the match: Ryan Longman

AFC Wimbledon may have been playing against a depleted team but it doesn't take away from their team performance. Resolute at the back and a threat going forward. The latter was largely in part to Longman, he had a couple of key chances but just his overall play impressed and Sunderland fans might have been eyeing him up for a January move. 

Takeaways

This result shouldn't take away from growth under Johnson

A 1-1 draw against a mid-table side isn't ideal for Sunderland, but after the effort of Saturday and the enforced changes it can't be read into that much. This wasn't a first choice team and while the side he put out should have still had enough, the gaps were evident. 

 

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