Sunderland are through to the third round of the Carabao Cup after they produced a huge shock, beating Premier League Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor.
Jay Rodriguez had given the hosts the lead with 11 minutes gone, before Will Grigg netted his first of the season to level the match before the half time interval.
Goals from Tom Flanagan and George Dobson in the space of three minutes put daylight between the two sides, and they proved to be the final goals in the match as Sunderland knocked out Premier League opposition.
The Black Cats have been given the reward of playing Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
Jack Ross made eight changes to the side that won 3-1 against AFC Wimbledon in Sky Bet League One. Denver Hume, Luke O’Nien and Lynden Gooch were the only players to keep their places to face the Clarets, with hat-trick hero Chris Maguire not in the team at Turf Moor. Tom Flanagan took the captain’s armband as he partnered Jack Baldwin in defence, with George Dobson and Dylan McGeouch replacing Grant Leadbitter and Max Power in midfield. Will Grigg was given match minutes as he started up top, replacing Charlie Wyke, who dropped to the bench.
First Half: Grigg Scores As Sunderland Equalise!
Sunderland had an early chance at Turf Moor when the ball fell for Luke O’Nien inside the penalty area and he snatched at it, but fired the over the bar of Joe Hart’s goal.
With only 11 minutes on the clock the Premier League side took the lead. Matej Vydra wriggled forward inside the Sunderland half and found Jay Rodriguez sprinting in behind the Sunderland defence. He then slotted the ball past Lee Burge from inside of the penalty area and into the bottom left corner.
After this goal, Burnley applied pressure after pressure after pressure and were very unlucky not to have doubled their advantage. Aaron Lennon’s shot from just inside of the penalty area cannoned off the left post and then, the rebound lay for Matej Vydra, who just had to roll the ball into the back of an empty net. Disappointingly for Burnley, Vydra’s shot somehow hit off the right post and was then cleared away from danger.
Ten minutes before the half time interval, Will Grigg scored his first goal of the season in rather fortunate circumstances. Denver Hume sent a ball into the D just outside of the penalty area, looking for Luke O’Nien. Danny Drinkwater directed a clearance towards his own goal and fell for Grigg.
Looking shocked, Will Grigg fired the ball into the back of the net to equalise.
Second Half: Two Quick Goals Seal Progression To Third Round!
Only two minutes after the restart, Sunderland scored two quick-fire goals to build a strong advantage and something to hang onto.
Firstly, the captain for the evening - Tom Flanagan - put Sunderland into a two-one lead when Gooch’s shot from outside of the penalty area was spilled by Joe Hart and the Northern Ireland international had a simple header to nod it into the back of the empty Burnley net.
Three minutes later, it was 3-1 to the Black Cats with George Dobson’s first goal for the red and white army. Lynden Gooch took a corner from the left and played the ball along the byline to Luke O’Nien, who passed it to Dobson, who was outside of the penalty area. With a neat finish, the ball rolled into the bottom right corner.
Burnley fought back not long after when Jay Rodriguez’s header from just inside the six-yard box was brilliantly pushed away by Lee Burge in the Sunderland goal.
Sunderland did well to deal with the Burnley pressure that was applied towards the end of the match as they tried to find a way back into the second round tie. Chris Wood replaced Aaron Lennon as they pushed to get back into the match.
For Sunderland, Charlie Wyke replaced Will Grigg with 77 minutes gone before the arrival of Max Power strengthened the midfield with minutes of the game left.
We are now through to the third round of the Carabao Cup - when looking ahead to the season, was it really a competition we wanted or expected to go far in?
Last season we knew that progressing to the final of the Checkatrade Trophy was one of the reasons that we were unable to achieve automatic promotion. Now, we have another game to add to our schedule in September which will be in between the Bolton Wanderers away match and the MK Dons home game.
It was brilliant for Will Grigg to score his first goal of the season and although he was fortunate that the ball fell into his path, it was a cool and composed finish to score and that will give him more confidence - hopefully, scoring against Premier League opposition will spur him on to get more in the next few matches in League One.
On Saturday we face Peterborough in what could be the biggest game of the season so far. Peterborough have won their last two matches and will bring confidence into this game after scoring four against MK Dons, including a stunner from Marcus Maddison.
I’d fully expect all of the players who were replaced for this cup match to be reinstated into the starting eleven, and hopefully we will be celebrating a sixth successive win in all competitions come 5pm on Saturday.