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Player Ratings & Report: Sunderland 1-1 Walsall - ANOTHER game against this lot, anyone?!

Despite taking a first half lead, Sunderland weren’t able to win again at Walsall today and, unfortunately, face a replay. Here’s how it went, and how the Lads rated.

Sunderland weren’t able to make a well-earned first half lead count as they were fairly poor in the second, drawing 1-1 with Walsall at the Bescot Stadium in the FA Cup this afternoon.

An Aiden McGeady goal put us ahead but a well taken Andy Cook strike levelled things up near the start of the second 45.

Sunderland started the game well on top, and had a couple of half chances in the first ten minutes which briefly threatened the Walsall goal.

Max Power and Aiden McGeady were particularly strong from the off, and looked like players well above this level.

The lads first came closest on around twenty minutes, when a Bryan Oviedo shot was flicked towards goal by Josh Maja - but Roberts in the Walsall net managed to turn it around the post.

The away side continued to apply some pressure, and in the 37th minute it paid off when Aiden McGeady tapped it in to give us the lead.

Our dominance continued right up until the half time whistle, and it would be fair to say that Walsall were lucky to be only a goal down at the break.

Sunderland reemerged at half time and were nowhere near as good, and Walsall made us pay for our sloppiness.

Their number nine, Andy Cook, swung a boot at it and the ball flew into the bottom corner - a bitter blow after such a good opening 45 from the lads.

Walsall continued to press us, and after Jerome Sinclair was brought on for Bryan Oviedo it was the home team who came close to going ahead - Cook again threatening, with his looping header hitting the bar before being cleared.

With the game even, both sides were less than convincing with their play and Sunderland were guilty on more than one occasion of getting drawn in to daft fouls.

Bali Mumba was brought on to provide some solidity and he did a fine job of retaining possession and keeping the ball moving.

In the end, neither side could take the advantage and a replay will be played in the coming weeks to decide who progresses.

Player Ratings

Jon McLaughlin, 7/10: Tidy with the ball at his feet and made a couple of good saves in the second half.

Reece James, 6/10: Does he ever have a bad game? Linked up well with McGeady down the left. He’s the perfect defensive foil for our most creative player.

Jack Baldwin, 5/10: Cumbersome with the ball at times and could have done better with Cook’s leveller.

Tom Flanagan, 5/10: Like Baldwin, he struggled with the aerial threat of Cook.

Adam Matthews, 7/10: Quality going forward. With Oviedo alongside him he was able to get at Walsall with regularity.

Max Power, 7/10: Tidy. He’s a class above at this level when he’s at full throttle and, for me, is the midfielder we possess that has the most quality.

Luke O’Nien, 6/10: Tidy and hard-working.

Aiden McGeady (c), 7/10: All over their right back like a rash. Now he’s got his mojo back he is absolutely devastating.

Bryan Oviedo, 6/10: Played the role of foil for Matthews on the right. Did well considering he was drafted in late.

Lynden Gooch, 5/10: Worked tirelessly alongside Maja up front but not much came off.

Josh Maja, 5/10: Quiet today.

(SUB) Jerome Sinclair, 6/10: Came on to give Walsall something extra to think about.

(SUB) Bali Mumba, 6/10: Shored us up in the middle of the park.

Man of the Match: Aiden McGeady.

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