Sunderland held on to gain a valuable point at Hillsborough, drawing 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday courtesy of another George Honeyman goal.
The 22 year old’s early strike was cancelled out by a thunderbolt from David Jones, however, in the second half as Simon Grayson and his men survived a late onslaught to escape Sheffield with a point.
The Black Cats remain unbeaten on five points while Carlos Carvalhal and the Owls have yet to win after drawing their second successive game - despite being the more fancied team in pre-season.
Sheffield Wednesday XI: Kieren Westwood, Jack Hunt, Tom Lees, Daniel Pudil, Adam Reach, Ross Wallace, David Jones, Almen Abdi, Barry Bannan, Sam Winnall, Gary Hooper.
Subs: Joe Wildsmith, Morgan Fox, Jordan Rhodes, Steven Fletcher, Liam Palmer, Marco Matias, George Boyd.
Sunderland: XI: Jason Steele, Billy Jones, Lamine Kone, Tyias Browning, Brendan Galloway, Didier Ndong, Lee Cattermole (c), George Honeyman, Aiden McGeady, James Vaughan, Lewis Grabban.
Subs: Robbin Ruiter, Wahbi Khazri, Lynden Gooch, Darron Gibson, John O’Shea, Adam Matthews, Joel Asoro.
Sunderland produced yet another promising and accomplished first half display of Championship football, taking the lead through George Honeyman’s early goal.
The improving midfielder made no mistake teeing himself up before blasting into an open goal. Honeyman benefited from quick thinking from Aiden McGeady, the Republic of Ireland international cutting back to the 22 year old, after using his quick feet to evade the on-rushing Kieran Westwood. Honeyman did well, finding the right balance between composure and power with two Wednesday defenders on the line - a great start for the side.
A bright start was nearly rewarded with a second Black Cats goal. Billy Jones coming close this time, the right back headed wide from a McGeady corner, unmarked at the back post.
After an energetic start from the visitors, the game returned to a similar pattern to Sunderland’s victory at Norwich, with Grayson’s men content to sit mostly within 30 yards of their goal, allowing the opposition possession.
Wednesday posed a greater threat than the largely toothless Norwich side Sunderland beat on Sunday and could have levelled through Sam Winnall. The English forward could only finish the Yorkshire outfit's best attack of the half with a tame effort which Jason Steele got down well to hold onto. Reach’s cutback from the Sunderland byline, finding Winnall in acres of space near the Black Cat’s penalty spot.
Lewis Grabban then missed a great chance to add to his early impressive goals return in Red and White. The Bournemouth loanee missed the target after heading back across goal, from another impressive McGeady set piece.
Half Time: Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Sunderland (George Honeyman, 4)
About a minute in, someone is injured and the ball is bust. SUNLUN pic.twitter.com/VFEzAFf8Zw— Roker Report (@RokerReport) August 16, 2017
Little happened in the early stages of the second half. Both teams showed plenty of intent, but were let down by their final ball in a game beginning to resemble an attrition contest. Sunderland provided the first notable moment of the half when Grabban, showcasing his usual mix of pace and trickery, crossed in behind the Wednesday back-line; however, unfortunately the on-rushing James Vaughan couldn’t get a clean contact, with the ball spinning behind for a goal kick.
Minutes later Vaughan squandered another excellent chance, this time the ball fell to him in the box after a blocked McGeady effort. The former Bury man let fly on the volley, but shot harmlessly wide - a real let off for Wednesday.
Steele was called into action again as Sheffield pressed for an equaliser, parrying a Gary Hooper header over the bar. The English marksman couldn’t get sufficient power to trouble Sunderland’s back-pedalling number one, and Sunderland were let off the hook.
The home side did pull level with less than 20 minutes remaining. After both Didier Ndong and Lamine Kone failed to clear their lines, David Jones drove forward and let fly from 30 yards - beating Steele with an absolute rocket.
Following the goal all the momentum switched to Wednesday, with Sunderland looking rattled. Substitute Jordan Rhodes was left unmarked in the area, but somehow missed from close range heading over with just ten minutes remaining.
Well and truly boxed in, Sunderland survived another wave of Wednesday attacks. This time a goal mouth clearance saved the Mackems. Caravalhal’s men piled in to will the ball over the line, but somehow a Red and White shirt hooked the ball away - the visitors surviving an almighty scramble.
Wednesday’s pressure was unrelenting now, with Hooper letting Sunderland off this time. He crashed against the bar after being teed up by ex-Black Cat Steven Fletcher, and Sunderland were reeling.
Sheffield continued to pile on the pressure, but were unable to find the breakthrough required in order to steal their first three points of the season. Sunderland won’t complain with the point after that second half showing; that’s 5 points from 3 league games - many of us would have taken that if we’d been offered it at the beginning of the season.
Full Time: Sheffield Wednesday (Jones 70) 1-1 Sunderland (Honeyman 4)
Jason Steele: 6/10 - Had some nervy moments, was blameless for the goal however.
Billy Jones: 5/10 - Appears to have regressed back to the energetic but often hapless player we saw in the Premier League after his excellent Derby performance.
Tyias Browning: 7/10 - Another impressive showing, looks reliable at this level.
Lamine Kone: 7/10 - Another assured, impressive showing from our inconsistent centre half.
Brendan Galloway: 5/10 - Started well, still a liability defensively and looks lost out of possession.
Didier Ndong: 7/10 - Excellent in the early stages but faded in the second half, like many of his teammates.
Lee Cattermole (c): 6/10 - Looked laboured and tired after a series of impressive performances, his wasteful passing gave Sheffield the initiative early in the second.
George Honeyman: 8/10 - Linked play excellently throughout - showed outstanding composure to bury his early chance.
Aiden McGeady: 7/10 - Did brilliantly for the goal and his set pieces were terrific. Faded after the first 30 minutes, occasionally over-indulging in possession.
Lewis Grabban: 7/10 - Sunderland’s out-ball; a constant attacking threat again, unfortunately starved of the ball in the second half.
James Vaughan: 5/10 - Worked tirelessly again, but his lack of quality is frustrating and galling in such a vital position.
Wahbi Khazri (sub): 5/10 - Was unable to be the outlet we needed when introduced late on.
Lynden Gooch (sub): 5/10 - Similar to Khazri, left chasing shadows as we held on in the dying minutes.
Darron Gibson (sub): n/a - Only played for six minutes.
Man of the Match: George Honeyman took his goal well and was Sunderland’s best player over the course of the ninety minutes - it’s great to see him playing so well.