Lee Burge: 6/10
This may be a harsh mark for a penalty saving goalkeeper, but his kicking was poor as usual and Burge was extremely lucky to get away with an extremely weak punch out from a corner too.
Conor McLaughlin: 6/10
Like every other Sunderland player, his ball retention and passing was poor. McLaughlin did have his moments and showed more composure than our other centre halves, best typified by his beautiful reverse pass to release Wyke for our penalty.
Bailey Wright: 5/10
Nowhere near his best, struggled with the Gillingham aerial barrage, wasn’t able to settle Sunderland down with his usually reliable passing and was also lucky to get away with some criminal ball watching that nearly led to a Dominic Samuel goal.
Tom Flanagan: 2/10
His heading was abysmal, every time he had possession the Gills were delighted, as they knew they’d soon be getting the ball back, simply not up to it.
Nothing typified just how bad a footballer Flanagan is, quite like his penalty concession. He played a simple 15-yard pass straight to a Gillingham attacker, and then in slow motion tripped over another attacker who ran onto a slow through ball any good professional footballer would have cut out.
Luke O’Nien: 4/10
O’Nien did have impressive moments in the game, he was unlucky to be caught marginally offside and be denied what would have been an outstanding headed goal, and he also saw another great effort cleared off the line by Charlie Wyke!
But no player more clearly embodied Sunderland’s miserable approach than O’Nien. He gave away possession cheaply and without much thought over and over again, and chose the wrong pass more often than not.
Grant Leadbitter: 5/10
Struggled badly, he spent most of the game in no man’s land seeing the ball sail over his head. Leadbitter couldn’t protect the back three and his passing and clearances were uncharacteristically wasteful.
Leadbitter improved once Gillingham went down to ten men and started seeing more of the ball, pushing Sunderland forward with his peerless composure at this level.
Josh Scowen: 5/10
Had some bright moments, and was one of Sunderland’s most purposeful passers, but he scuffed an excellent chance to break the deadlock and was another inconsistent attacker, missing another good second half chance.
Lynden Gooch: 6/10
Was too amped up for the match and played carelessly in the first half. His performance in the first period was best embodied by his booking for dissent when the American had a full blown meltdown shouting at the referee, after getting frustrated at not being awarded a free kick when he fell over.
Thankfully he redeemed himself in the second, improving his decision making and sealing the points with a solo breakaway goal at the death.
Denver Hume: 5/10
His early burst past the Gillingham full back to create a crossing opportunity suggested we might get another enterprising Hume performance, but he regressed from there. Hume was guilty of running down blind alleys with his head down and his crossing was ineffective.
Aiden O’Brien: 3/10
Had some nice touches and showed flashes of quality, but once again, just didn’t impact the game enough. O’Brien never seems to play with enough aggression or physicality to succeed at this level.
His finishing was wasteful, and his first touch completely disappeared in the second half.
Charlie Wyke: 4/10
For every clever first time ball or won header, it felt like there were two bad touches where he lost the ball, plus it’s hard to forgive his goal saving block on an O’Nien shot.
(SUB) Danny Graham: 5/10
Missed a difficult headed chance, didn’t do a lot else.
(SUB) Chris Maguire: 7/10
Rolled in a cool penalty late on to secure a vital, and what felt like at times, unlikely win.
Man of the Match