Sunderland put in a great performance today against Luton Town and, despite taking an early lead, they failed to take all three points in what was a vital game at the top of the league.
After a tightly contested opening fifteen minutes saw neither team take the initiative, Sunderland opened the scoring through a fantastic strike by Chris Maguire, who hammered one home after Luton failed to clear a number of half chances inside their box.
Sunderland dominated the rest of the half, keeping possession well, although on more than one occasion Luton were denied by some fantastic saves by Jon Mclaughlin in the home net.
The second half saw much of the same, though a number of poor decisions by referee Lee Probert culminated with a dubious penalty decision in Luton’s favour - and James Collins despatched it nicely to level up proceedings.
Soon after the game swung in Sunderland’s favour again - Danny Hylton dismissed after an elbow on Tom Flanagan was seen clearly by everyone in the stadium.
With fifteen left to play came an immense chance - Aiden McGeady rocketed an effort off the bar which left the keeper stranded, and Charlie Wyke failed to convert the rebound.
In injury time a fracas occurred in the centre of the pitch and Chris Maguire received a straight red for an apparent stamp, meaning both teams ended the game with ten men.
Ultimately, Luton did a good job of wasting time and despite perhaps deserving more, Sunderland could only manage a draw.
Jon McLaughlin, 8/10: Made three blinding first half saves to keep Luton out of the game - he’s a proper game-changer.
Reece James, 7/10: Luton’s diamond meant he had the freedom to roam forwards whenever he wanted to. Offered a good option for us offensively.
Jack Baldwin, 7/10: Some great tackling and passing out from the back.
Tom Flanagan, 7/10: Aerially dominant and did well up against Hylton. Not sure on the penalty decision, will have to see it back.
Luke O’Nien, 8/10: Just superb again. Won practically every tackle he went for, was great going forward and worked his backside off.
Max Power, 7/10: Much more like his old self today. He and McGeouch dominated the middle.
Dylan McGeouch, 8/10: Outstanding. He’s been a real breath of fresh air since coming back into the side.
Aiden McGeady, 7/10: As always he was a threat to their full backs and some of his deliveries into the area were tremendous.
Chris Maguire, 6/10: Fabulous goal in the first half but got himself sent off - he’ll be a miss.
Charlie Wyke, 6/10: Can tell he’s getting better with each game. With no Maja he was our outlet, and it really gave us a different dimension. Not good enough in front of goal though.
Lynden Gooch, 7/10: Worked hard. Didn’t always come off for him but Justin at left back still struggled to defend against him.
(SUB) Benji Kimpioka, 6/10: Brought on for his unpredictability.
(SUB) Bryan Oviedo, 6/10: Came on late in the game as we looked for a winner.
Man of the Match: Dylan McGeouch