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Finlay’s Report: Sunderland were fortunate but hopefully the new signings can spice us up!

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Do Sunderland still have the quality to become promotion candidates? Yesterday’s win was a good one, but showed there’s still work that needs to be done.

Sunderland AFC

After a moment of brilliance from Aiden McGeady, Sunderland claimed a 1-0 victory over bottom of the table side AFC Wimbledon to keep themselves in the race for automatic promotion. Despite their side claiming three points, fans were doubting Sunderland’s credentials.

Despite that exceptional attempt from McGeady, the game was pretty lacklustre with no team looking like they were going to provide the breakthrough. Sunderland are three points off the pace at the top of League One, while leaders Luton are storming ahead and are nine points clear of the Black Cats.

The end of the transfer window was very frantic for Sunderland, with three players signing on Deadline Day, with Will Grigg being the last to go through on Friday morning after the club managed to get the deal sheet through to the EFL before the 11pm deadline. Also, Lewis Morgan, a midfielder who worked with Jack Ross at St Mirren, was brought in on loan, while Kazaiah Sterling was another striker that Sunderland brought in on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.

Jack Ross made five changes to the side that drew 1-1 against Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park two weeks ago in League One. Adam Matthews came back into the side at right-back, while new signings Grant Leadbitter and Lewis Morgan came into the midfield. After Josh Maja left the club in the transfer window, Charlie Wyke started up top as Will Grigg was out injured, but Ross hopes the Northern Ireland striker will be back for the away trip to the Kassam Stadium.

In the opening periods, Kwesi Appiah had an early effort from around 40 yards out which was looking as if it was going to beat Jon McLaughlin but he was able to claw it away from danger and out for a corner. Then, Will Nightingale hammered an effort over the bar after the Black Cats weren’t able to clear a corner and then he diverted the ball wide of the left post.

Throughout the match, Lewis Morgan used his pace to in behind the AFC Wimbledon defence - we were unlucky that there wasn’t an end-product to his attacks.

Sunderland should have had a penalty when a corner was whipped into the area - Jimmy Dunne provided a touch onto the ball and it hit off the arm of Will Nightingale. Despite cries from the crowd, the referee turned down appeals.

Sunderland AFC

In the 67th minute, Aiden McGeady showed why he is a top class midfielder. He made a run round the back of the AFC Wimbledon defence and Grant Leadbitter found him with a lofted ball. The defender couldn’t intercept it and McGeady was in behind. He switched the ball onto his right foot and beautifully curled it into the right hand corner of the AFC Wimbledon goal.

McGeady could have doubled Sunderland’s advantage when his shot from the edge of the penalty area was parried away by Aaron Ramsdale and we couldn’t score from the rebound. Sunderland couldn’t find another goal, but AFC Wimbledon didn’t find an equaliser so it ended Sunderland AFC 1-0 AFC Wimbledon.

Next up, we face an away trip to the Kassam Stadium, where we face Oxford United. Hopefully, Will Grigg is back from his injury that kept him out of Saturday’s match as I don’t think that Charlie Wyke has much of an impact on his own up top.