Sunderland 1-1 Lincoln City: Black Cats winning run ends after battling draw with Imps 
Sunderland were comfortable winners when these sides met in December
Andrew Vaughan - Getty Images

Sunderland's seemingly unstoppable charge towards promotion experienced its first minor bump, as they were held to a draw by fellow promotion hopefuls Lincoln City.

The north-east side took the lead late in the first half through a Callum McFadzean header at the back post, after what had been a rather even game to that point.

But Lincoln, who had lost their last two games, managed to find a leveller through Callum Morton's close range strike. Earning his side a draw that they thoroughly deserved.

Story of the match

It was the underdogs Lincoln who began the brighter of the two, with both Conor McGrandles and Callum Morton having shots blocked in quick succession after just three minutes. 

The home sides first chance came on 10 minutes, with Max Power flashing a long-range strike wide.

This was shortly followed by a Grant Leadbitter effort, which was forced out for a corner by Imps keeper Alex Palmer.

City then had a great opportunity to take the lead at the half way point in the half, but full-back Regan Poole opted to shoot instead of squaring it to teammate Morton, with it being dealt with by Lee Burge.

Aiden McGeady then blazed over as the half continued to show little quality from either side going forward.

That changed in the 40th minute however, as Callum McFadzean met a delivery from Power with a brilliant bullet header into the corner to put Sunderland in front. Giving them a half time lead.

A quiet start to the second half saw a break in play, whilst centre-back Lewis Montsma received treatment following a challenge from Sunderland frontman Charlie Wyke. 

McGeady then saw a power free-kick saved by Palmer as the hosts looked to double their lead and see the win out.

However just after the hour mark, with their first chance of the half, Lincoln equalised through Morton, who showed excellent strength and footwork to turn in the box and fire low past Burge.

City then almost took the lead on 70 minutes, but Cohen Bramall saw a close range effort well saved by Burge, as the momentum shifted.

The away side continued to look the more likely to get the winner, with Burge once again pulling off a fantastic save to deny Morgan Rogers strike from inside the area. 

And that was the last real chance of note, as the game came to a close and the sides shared the spoils. 

Takeaways

Sunderland miss chance to close the gap, but will still fancy themselves for automatic promotion

When Lee Johnson took over at Sunderland in December, they were outside the play-off places. It took a couple of months for them to find their feet, but have now found a system that works.

They had won five in a row in all competitions prior to this, and are now unbeaten in 12. Picking up the EFL Trophy as well during that run.

But with both Hull City and Peterborough United failing to win, Sunderland will see  this as an opportunity missed to break into the top two. But with over 10 games still to come, they'll surely get the chance again. 

Lincoln's winless run promises to end sooner rather than later if performances like this continue 

At the start of the season, many Lincoln fans would have happily taken a top half finish after a summer of big changes within the squad. 

However, a brilliant first half of the season from Michael Appleton's men will have had them dreaming of promotion to the second tier for the first time since the early 60s. 

But their recent collapse in form has seen the chances of automatic promotion grow thin. Although if they can put in more displays like this in the near future, then there is still cause for optimism at Sincil Bank.   

Man of the match

Liam Bridcutt

The former Sunderland midfielder was made captain not long after his arrival at Lincoln in early 2020, and you can see why with performances like this. 

Bridcutt is a massive presence on the pitch for City, and they tend to miss that when he is out injured, which has unfortunately occurred all too often this season. 

Fans will be hopeful that he can stay fit for the run in, as the ex-Premier League player has the ability to break up play and form that key bridge between defence and attack. As he did today.   

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