Chris Maguire became only the fourth Sunderland player to score a hat-trick at the Stadium of Light in league action as he netted three in Sunderland’s League One victory over AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
Glenn Fuhrman, John Phelan and Robert Platek - the club’s potential new owners - were all in attendance at the Stadium of Light as the Black Cats increased their points tally to 11 in Sky Bet League One.
Maguire’s first came with only eight minutes on the clock when he elegantly chipped the ball over Wimbledon goalkeeper, Nathan Trott, to give Sunderland an early lead.
For the sixth match in a row, Sunderland were unable to keep a clean sheet as the they were pegged back when Kwesi Appiah nodded home from a few yards out.
With a right-footed deflected strike and a cool header, Chris Maguire finished off his hat-trick to make sure that Sunderland would claim all three points for a third successive league match.
Sunderland gaffer Jack Ross made one change to the side that took three points from the Crown Oil Arena against Rochdale on Tuesday night. That change was at left-back, where after not really impressing on his first few starts for the club, Conor McLaughlin was dropped to the bench, with Denver Hume taking his place in the starting 11. Ross kept with the same frontline that scored two on Tuesday, with Charlie Wyke keeping his place after netting the winner against Rochdale, partnered by Chris Maguire in attack.
First Half: Wimbledon Equalise After Maguire’s Marvellous Chip
The home side took the confidence of winning three successive matches in all competitions into the start of this match and began the stronger. Then, with only eight minutes gone, Chris Maguire scored his second goal of the season with a superb chip. McLaughlin cannoned the ball up field and it took a deflection off the head of Paul Kalambayi and fell for Maguire, who was through on goal. He had time and space to pick his spot and he cheekily lifted the ball over Nathan Trott in the Wimbledon goal.
Sunderland had a chance to put daylight between the two teams when Leadbitter’s cross into the penalty area was cleared but only to Maguire, the goal scorer. Looking for his second, he lashed at the ball and it rolled wide of the left post.
Not long after that, parity was restored at the Stadium of Light as Wimbledon equalised. Scott Wagstaff played the ball to Luke O’Neill on the right wing and he crossed it into the 18-yard box. It travelled all the way to the back post, where Kwesi Appiah was un-marked - he dove towards the ball and nodded it into the back of the net and past an unmoved Jon McLaughlin.
Just before half time, the home side had a chance to re-take their lead when Leadbitter’s cross from a corner on the right was nodded down by Wyke, narrowly looping over the bar.
Second Half: Hattrick King!
Eight minutes after the half time break Sunderland were back in front. The Black Cats’ set piece specialist, Grant Leadbitter, whipped a corner into the penalty area, but it was beaten away by Nathan Trott. Unfortunately for the visitors, the ball landed at the feet of Maguire, who knew exactly his intentions. He fired the ball towards goal and after a hefty deflection from Terell Thomas, it deceived the goalkeeper and bounced in the back of the net.
Four minutes after this Jack Ross made his first switch; removing an unhappy Lynden Gooch, and replacing him with Will Grigg.
Jordan Willis almost scored his second goal in as many home appearances when Ozturk nodded the ball down at the right post for Charlie Wyke, who back-heeled the ball in the direction of the net. Then, from around two yards out, Willis’ flick was saved by Trott on the goal line.
Only a minute later, Will Grigg was unlucky not to have scored his first goal of the campaign. Hume curled the ball round the defenders for Grigg, who was in front of his man and dribbled into some space inside the penalty area. Using his right foot, he unfortunately fired wide of the right post.
Then, with just over an hour gone, Chris Maguire completed his hat-trick to jot his name down in the Sunderland history books. Grigg’s cross from the byline inside the penalty area fell for Luke O’Nien, who crossed it to the back post, where both Maguire and McGeady were waiting. In the end, McGeady allowed Maguire to take the opportunity and he headed the ball past Trott from a few yards out.
Maguire now becomes only the fourth Sunderland player to score a treble at the Stadium of Light in the league and the first since Darren Bent in a 4-0 win over Bolton in March 2010. Maguire was substituted not long after and received an ovation as he left the pitch.
After five minutes of added time, Sunderland claimed all three points as the match ended Sunderland AFC 3-1 AFC Wimbledon.
Nine out of nine points in our last three matches can’t be argued with. After two 1-1 draws to begin the season, the feeling was different around the Stadium of Light heading into Saturday’s game, and the Lads didn’t disappoint as they scored three goals in League One for the first time this season.
Obviously Chris Maguire was the standout player on Saturday but I think that the whole team gave 110% to make this one of the best performances so far this campaign. Throughout the match, Charlie Wyke bossed the AFC Wimbledon defence, giving them plenty of problems. He won headers all over the park and created ample opportunities for his teammates.
One negative that could be taken from this game is that we couldn’t keep a clean sheet. Ultimately it wasn’t a huge worry as we managed to win by a two-goal advantage, but in tight games our inability to stave off danger could cost us - that said, there’s a long time to go yet.
On Wednesday we face Burnley in the second round of the Carabao Cup. I don’t expect Jack Ross to play his full strength side as we have a big game against Peterborough United on Saturday, but the gaffer will give players like Will Grigg, George Dobson and Tom Flanagan the minutes on the pitch that they sorely need. Although the Carabao Cup isn’t our number one priority, it would be nice to spring an upset.