With most fans at this surprising sell out match, due to the covid restriction of 150, distracted by the torrential rain they had the visiting coach to thank for reminding them through his inaccurate ‘the referee is a Geordie’ comments (which earned him a yellow card) that this was also a Tyne v Wear tie. There were 3 changes from the undeserved Vase defeat on Saturday, with Simpson, Miller & Wright replacing Leech, Waters & Carr.
In monsoon conditions, the Stan should have been comfortably ahead early on starting, after 5 minutes, with a Wright 30-yard free kick that hit the wall. The resulting corner saw the ball headed clear to Wilson who shot wide. 2 minutes later & a cross to Wright in the 6-yard box saw the keeper get in the way. The Stan did take the lead in the 10th minute when Burns’ corner ball was headed in by Josh Miller. It was very apt that the captain scored as it was his 50th start for the club. 4 minutes later though the visitors were back level as from a corner, Regan punched clear but Tarn at the far post volleyed the ball into the net. In 18 minutes, a Wright free kick again hit the wall and was then cleared. 3 minutes later & Burns was brought down just outside the box, but he sent his free kick over the bar. In 24 minutes, a Stan attack in the 6 yard box was cleared & Paterson’s follow up shot went wide & soon after he was tackled in the box. Sunderland then had a rare attack which was eventually cleared. 2 minutes later & McDermot, the visiting keeper, easily caught a Stan free kick. The visitors then had a corner headed clear by Wilson before their defence stopped a Wright counter attack. The visitors then sent a high ball into the Stan box & although a player got his foot to it Regan managed to block. In 32 minutes, the advancing Wright shot under pressure at the keeper. Sunderland then had 2 attacks with the 2nd only being stopped thanks to Miller’s clearance. With both teams trying to attack, it was now the Stan’s turn again as McDermot cleared twice followed by Paterson shooting just wide. The rain now looked like snowflakes in the floodlights, but it was now the visitors in 43 minutes who forced the Stan defence to clear followed by Regan having to make a full stretch save. Both teams then had free kicks cleared before the half time whistle was only just heard above the rain.
The 1st 5 minutes after the restart involved all Stan pressure including a McDermot save & Paterson hitting the side-netting. The visitors then won 2 corners after Stoddart made a great tackle to block an attack. The next 10 minutes saw the Stan consistently pressurise including through a number of advances by Burns and Wright. From a corner in 61 minutes, Wilson wasted his shot & soon after Regan had to get down to block. In 67 minutes, a Sunderland attack was eventually cleared & Burns sent a long ball to Wright who just couldn’t get to it. Another 2 Sunderland attacks were then cleared & in 71 minutes they had another shot blocked. With the rain now off, both teams were trying to attack but it was Simpson who had to head clear after 75 minutes. There was then a period of Stan pressure which in 80 minutes resulted in Campbell passing to the advancing Paterson who was brought down in the box for a penalty. Wright sent the keeper the wrong way and it was 2-1 with 9 minutes to go. The Stan kept attacking but a now rare Sunderland attack in 88 minutes saw a player break through but his poor finish & the presence of Regan meant that he blocked the ball for a corner. Both teams were trying to attack with the Stan’s efforts mainly through long balls to Wright including a shot which was deflected wide. At the other end there was good defending including by Bailey. In the 94th minute though, the Stan sealed the points when a long ball to sub Carr saw him pass to the advancing Wright who tapped the ball into the net. Both teams had done well to keep playing, given the conditions, but it was the Stan who deservedly secured the late win & extended their undefeated league run to 6 matches.