Sunderland picked up three points and a clean sheet away from home with a win at Shrewsbury on this day in 2018, moving Jack Ross’ side up to third in the table on a day where many of the teams around us slipped up.
Two assists from super-sub Lynden Gooch - one which led to an own goal and another which was finished well by Luke O’Nien - won the game for the Black Cats in the second half of a game which for the most part was evenly contested.
Sunderland started the brighter of the two teams and had a number of corners in the opening minutes of the game - though the Shrews did come close with a chance of their own when Anthony Grant blazed a free header over the bar.
But then the home side grew into the game, and the Lads had to weather a decent spell of pressure which saw us make a number of errors when placed under the cosh.
The rest of the half was fairly competitive and Sunderland had a great chance when Lee Cattermole connected on the volley with a cross from the right - but he smashed his shot well over.
Minutes later came another - standing unmarked, six yards out, Josh Maja just couldn’t get his shot away, and Shrewsbury cleared.
John Askey’s side came again though and more than matched Sunderland throughout the half, but the teams went into the break goalless - and could both feel disappointed that they weren’t able to take the lead.
The second period began as the first one ended, with neither side really able to take a foothold in the game. As such, Jack Ross made an early change and brought on Lynden Gooch in place of top scorer Josh Maja, who had an off day. Another player who was ineffective, Aiden McGeady, was replaced by George Honeyman.
Gooch’s impact was felt almost immediately as his cross into the box glanced off Shrewsbury defender Omar Beckles to give Sunderland the lead just before the hour mark.
And with their confidence growing, Sunderland persisted in trying for another - Chris Maguire’s lethal strike from range stung the hands of the Shrewsbury goalkeeper, who eventually managed to get the ball clear.
Sunderland had to be more clever with their play as the game wore on and, with Honeyman and Cattermole closing down in midfield, Jack Ross’ side worked hard to try and conserve their lead.
Another fantastic substitution from Jack Ross bore fruit late in the game - moments after his introduction, Luke O’Nien got onto the end of a superb Lynden Gooch pass to put the game to bed.
Sunderland moved up to third in the League One table, six points behind leaders Portsmouth with a game in hand - and those pesky games in hand, though we didn’t know it at the time, didn’t particularly aid us as the season wore on.