Crewe Alexandra 2-2 Sunderland: Maguire volleys saves Black Cats against brave Crewe
The hosts celebrate Chris Porter's opener at The Alexandra Stadium. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images )

Chris Maguire's injury-time volley rescued a point for Sunderland as they came from behind to draw with play-off chasing rivals Crewe Alexandra.

Chris Porter scored for the second straight game to put David Artell's side ahead from Mikael Mandron's cross, before Tom Lowery doubled their lead before the break from another Mandron cross.

Jordan Jones' first goal for Sunderland with 15 minutes remaining forced a nervy ending for Crewe, before Maguire struck gold in the dying minutes to level the scoring and make it four unbeaten for Lee Johnson's side.

Story of the match

The home started the brighter of the two sides, with Mandron and Porter causing the Sunderland defence problems. Lowery, who had a goal and an assist in his previous two outings, registered the games' first shot on target with a low drive at Lee Burge.

Charlie Kirk had Crewe's next opportunity when Dion Sanderson mistimed the flight of the ball, leading to Kirk with the chance to lob Burge, but Sanderson made up for his error to clear the ball off the line.

The Railwaymen finally made their pressure pay after the half-hour when Porter scored his second goal of the week thanks to Mandron's neat cut-back. The Sunderland defence was nowhere to be seen and the 37-year-old stroked home past the helpless Burge.

It was 2-0 only seven minutes later when Lowery slotted the ball past Burge after another brilliant ball across the face of goal by Mandron. The goal was Crewe academy product's third league goal of the season and his second in three games.

Aiden O'Brien's first-time effort nearly caught out David Richards early in the second half after Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke linked-up well before the later cut the ball back for O'Brien to try his luck. Unfortunately for the 27-year-old, his strike contained too much power and looped over.

Out of nowhere, it was game-on when Jones struck a thunderous strike into the top corner to halve the deficit and open a pathway for Lee Johnson's side to rescue a point.

They should have drawn level almost immediately after Jones' wonder strike when a teasing free-kick made it's way to Luke O'Nien, but the former-Wycombe Wanderers man failed to correctly direct his header goalwards.

Man of the match Mandon came close to extending Crewe's lead in the 90th minute, but his attempted lob was clawed away by Burge.

The equalising goal came in late stoppage time as Maguire struck a brilliant half-volley into the top corner. The ball fell at the feet of the striker before he unleashed a thunderous volley past Richards.

Sanderson 

Sunderland deployed two different formations, with back four in defence but a back three when going forward. When attacking, Sanderson played the 'Conor Coady role', with O'Nien and Conor Mclaughlin either side of him.

The 21-year-old played as a more ball-playing defender than O'Nien and Mclaughlin, constructing attacks from the back and organising the defence as the Black Cats only centre-back on the pitch.

He showcased his defensive abilities from the get-go after missing a simple header from a throw-in, responding well to deny Charlie Kirk after the Alexandra forward had lobbed Burge.

Sanderson couldn't have prevented Crewe's two goals in the first half, but when called upon, he was there. A patient attack from the hosts eventually presented Lowery with a chance to score again, but Sanderson's brilliant last-second dive deflected the ball wide and prevented Sunderland from going three goals down.

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Once they fell behind, Johnson pushed his side further forward, forcing Sanderson to partner Mclaughlin in central defence. One standout feature of his game was certainly his adaptability. Once put in a back four, he controlled the promotion-chasing side's defence and kept Porter quiet in the second half.

The Wolves-loanee remained composed towards the closing stages, whilst others in navy Blue tried to rush the play as they pushed for an equaliser. Normally the last man back for Sunderland, his physically attacking attributes were never tested.

With still much to learn before he becomes a first team regular for Nuno Espirito Santo's side, Sanderson is on the right track to potentially feature in the Premier League next season.

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