Lee Burge: 6/10
He was a calming influence at a time in the first half, at 0-0, when we needed it. Not sure he actually made too many saves but it was him stepping up to take some ownership that I enjoyed most. Looked confident, especially in the closing minutes of the game when he was called upon to produce two saves as Bristol pushed for a late goal.
Callum McFadzean: 6/10
Struggled to get through the first half as Bristol clearly targetted him as a weak link, doubling up when pressing him. Did his job for the most part though and worked hard, showing improvement in the second period.
Luke O’Nien: 6/10
Threw himself at everything but he looked shaky too often in the first half - Hanlon is a handful who always seems to give us a hard time, and physically it was a tough battle. Improved in the second and in what was a very ‘route one’ game, he won most of his headers and clearances.
Dion Sanderson: 6/10
Like O’Nien, he had a handful of hairy moments and struggled with Hanlon’s movement. Definitely grew in confidence though as the game went on and the pair of them deserve credit for holding firm when Rovers applied the pressure.
Max Power: 6/10
Gets the benefit of the doubt as he’s out of position - like McFadzean, they targetted him in possession during the first 45, and whilst it limited what he was able to do, I think he actually competed well. Got forward as much as he could and tried to get things going.
Carl Winchester: 6/10
Difficult to have much of an impact when the ball is going over your head, but thought he was neat and tidy in the first half - though he did play a shocker of a pass across the box that almost cost us. That said, he made amends with an improved second period where he adapted to become more physical when it was needed, and even burst forward to get into shooting positions in their box.
Josh Scowen: 7/10
He’s never going to be a great passer, but he worked hard and had a tough job considering how high Bristol pushed us and pressed in the first period. Thought he was excellent in his pressing when he went further forward after O’Brien went off and gave a proper team-player’s performance during our nerviest moments.
Aiden McGeady: 7/10
His set pieces were largely naff... and then he puts in a great cross to get the assist for O’Brien’s goal! I guess that’s why he’s in the team. More often than not, his quality shines through. Some of his 1-v-1s against the full backs were great to watch. Played a fantastic pass midway through the second half to O’Brien, who really should have scored, and with ten minutes to go he hit the outside of the post with a great free kick.
Lynden Gooch: 5/10
Nothing much went right for him. Worked his socks off but his touch wasn’t great and despite having the beating of his man on a handful of occasions, his crossing was poor. Had a great chance to score when he was put through on goal with a quick free kick, but instead of using his left he ran around the ball to get on his right, by which point the chance was gone and he had to pass it.
Aiden O’Brien: 7/10
Was decent enough - couple of canny lay-offs and won the majority of his aerial battles - but wasn’t perhaps as effective as he might have liked... until he was in the right place at the right time to stab home McGeady’s cross for the opener.
He did, however, miss an absolute sitter to make it two-nil after McGeady put the ball on a plate for him, so I’ve pinched half a mark off him for that.
Charlie Wyke: 7/10
Like the Lincoln game he was thrown all over the place by their defenders, and the ref wasn’t having any of it. Thought he battled hard and held it up well, but I can’t recall him having many chances created for him and, really, he had to work hard for himself to craft openings, which he’s not really used to!
Grant Leadbitter: 6/10
Came on at a time when we needed to manage the game better and calm things down, and he did his job in that sense without doing anything overly flashy.
Ross Stewart: 6/10
Wasn’t gifted with a barrage of chances from the flanks but defensively, holding up the ball, working the channels and bringing others into play, I thought he did fine.
Rate the manager: 7/10
Thought he got the team selection right but wasn’t overly impressed with our first half game-plan of pumping it long and trying to out-battle them. Our game management second half great though and we saw Sunderland play Barton at his own games - slowing the play down, wasting time here and there, and imagine that factored into LJ’s half time team talk.
Man of the Match
Aiden McGeady, though in truth, nobody stood out in particular. He gets it for bagging another assist, and giving an improved showing in the second period where we really should have scored more from his crosses and passes.