Middlesbrough 0-0 Sunderland
Despite an entertaining first half giving the fans inside the Riverside tonight a thirst for more action, the game was abandoned because of a freak storm which caused a power cut in the station.
Sunderland played very well in the 45 minutes that we did see, though, and Jack Ross will have been impressed by what he saw.
Setting up in a 4-2-3-1, as they have throughout pre-season, Sunderland started the game brightly, attacking and pressing with intent.
That said, the first real chance of the game fell to Middlesbrough as the always-tricky Adama Traore ghosted past three Sunderland defenders before cracking his shot off the top of the bar.
After Boro’s brief spell of pressure came the worrying departure of Dylan McGeouch, who went off injured before being replaced by Alim Ozturk. Tom Flanagan took the Scotsman’s place in midfield, sitting just in front of the back four.
Not long after came an injury to Traore and it distracted Middlesbrough somewhat, leading to Sunderland’s first proper chance of the half.
A bad backpass put George Honeyman through on goal, and after managing to fashion himself a chance he couldn’t keep the ball down as his shot flew over the bar.
Sunderland’s keen attacking intent then continued - some fantastic work from Jerome Sinclair coming inside from the left led to a great save from Darron Randolph, and then Tom Flanagan headed just wide from the resulting corner.
Moments later they threatened again. After Jon McLaughlin excellently claimed an aerial ball from a Boro corner, he released Lynden Gooch at the other end of the pitch, who raced through on goal only to see his shot saved.
Middlesbrough then began to grow into the game as the half neared its end and should have gone 1-0 up when Paddy McNair found himself through on goal - but the former Sunderland midfielder was excellently denied by McLaughlin, who was excellent through the first 45 minutes.
Right before half time it was Sunderland’s turn to attack next as Josh Maja - who had enjoyed a decent half up to that point - rattled a vicious shot off the post.
But despite the best efforts of both sides the half ended goalless, with Sunderland perhaps just the better of the two teams.
With the teams off the pitch the weather turned crazy, and a freak storm caused a power cut which led to the referee calling the game off before another ball could be kicked.
FINAL SCORE: Middlesbrough 0-0 Sunderland
Jon McLaughlin, 7/10: Outstanding. Forgot what a proper keeper was like until I saw him play! Hopeful for what he can bring next season.
Adam Matthews, 6/10: Good on the ball. Very comfortable - was probably glad to see Traore go off early.
Tom Flanagan, 7/10: Looked good when he went into midfield. Timed his tackles well.
Glenn Loovens, 7/10: Won me over immediately when he absolutely smashed Traore on the half way line.
Donald Love, 6/10: Comfortable defensively. Didn’t venture over the half way line too often.
Dylan McGeouch, 5/10: Had a few neat touches before going off injured. Hope it isn’t too serious.
Bali Mumba, 6/10: Did not look out of place up against far bigger, more experienced players.
George Honeyman, 6/10: Controlled the ball well and dropped deep in the absence of McGeouch and Cattermole.
Lynden Gooch, 7/10: Came close to scoring and looked very sharp. Had an impressive pre-season.
Josh Maja, 7/10: Held it up well and was unlucky when his shot rattled the post.
Jerome Sinclair, 6/10: Lively and would have scored had it not been for the foot of Randolph.
Alim Ozturk, 6/10: Slotted in well when he came on. Good in the air.