Sunderland 3-1 Oxford United: Late McGeady and Power goals deliver Black Cats vital three points
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Sunderland came from behind to defeat a ten-man Oxford United side in a hotly-contested tie at the Stadium of Light.

The U's took the lead on Wearside courtesy of a well-taken goal from James Henry, but The Black Cats equalised right on half-time through Lynden Gooch.

The away side were reduced to ten-men on 61 minutes as midfielder Mark Sykes was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Sunderland's extra man paid off in the late knockings of the games as late goals from Aiden McGeady and Max Power ensured The Black Cats took maximum points.

Story of the game

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson made two changes to his side after last weekend's triumph away at Bristol Rovers, with Aiden O'Brien and Carl Winchester replaced in the starting lineup by Conor McLaughlin and the once again fit Jordan Jones.

Karl Robinson was forced into one change after Oxford defeated promotion-chasing Lincoln City last time out, with Anthony Forde coming into the side for the injured Josh Ruffles.

After an end-to-end opening five minutes to the game, Oxford had an early let-off when Aiden McGeady flashed a low and hard corner directly into the path of Jones, who eventually miss-kicked his effort entirely.

It took 13 minutes for another half-chance to appear, this time it landed for the away side as Olamide Shodipo drove down the right-hand side and his powerfully hit cross forced Lee Burge into a tricky save.

Just a minute later, Oxford took the lead on Wearside as Brandon Barker ran through the heart of the Sunderland midfield and teed up James Henry to his right, who smashed a pinpoint low-driven strike into the bottom corner of the net.

The Black Cats looked to retaliate after going behind as Lynden Gooch tried his best Jermain Defoe impression on the 28-minute mark with a volley from distance, but his effort resulted in an Oxford throw-in.

McGeady – a man looking to make amends for giving the ball away cheaply leading to The U's opener – had two promising opportunities to pull his side level in quick succession, with his best being a free-kick from around 25-yards out that forced Jack Stevens into a top save to deny him.

Sunderland's perseverance after going behind paid off as they found their equaliser right on the stroke of half-time. Some lovely skill from Jones down the right-hand side saw him breeze past two Oxford defenders before picking his head up and playing the ball into the path of Gooch, who made no mistake from point-blank range. 

The extra man gave Sunderland the edge in the second half

The away side started the second half the brighter, but it took almost 15 minutes for the first real opportunity after the interval to appear as Sunderland broke after a promising Oxford chance, Charlie Wyke worked his way into the box, but a commanding challenge from Jamie Hanson stopped the forward in his tracks.

The pendulum swung on 61 minutes as Sykes – who was booked in the first half – was given his marching orders for a cynical tackle on Luke O'Nien.

Sunderland were buoyed by their opponents being reduced to ten men, and had a flurry of chances to take the lead – the first being a shot from Gooch that flashed past the post.

Shortly after that Gooch opportunity, Wyke chased after a long-ball that looked destined to be going out of play, he managed to keep it in and find the head of substitute Ross Stewart, who could not divert his effort into the back of the net.

The chances for The Black Cats kept coming, and this time it was the crossbar that denied Jones from a stunning goal, as he drove through the middle of the pitch before taking aim just outside the penalty area.

Just nine minutes from time, Sunderland took the lead as Gooch tricked his way down the right-hand side and pulled the ball back to McGeady, who slotted the ball past Stevens and into the bottom-right hand corner of the net.

Sunderland put the game beyond any doubt deep into stoppage time when Max Power was freed on goal and slotted past Stevens, before celebrating directly in front of an annoyed Oxford technical area.

This win for the hosts keeps them third in the League One table, with late victories for both Hull City and Peterborough United meaning Sunderland will not occupy a spot inside the automatic promotion places this evening.

Starting XI’s

Sunderland: Burge; McLaughlin, Sanderson, O'Nien, McFadzean; Scowen, Power; Jones, McGeady, Gooch; Wyke. (4-2-3-1)

Oxford United: Stevens; Forde, Moore, Atkinson, Hanson; Henry, Brannagan, Sykes; Shodipo, Taylor, Barker. (4-3-3)