Match ends, Sunderland 1, Sheffield United 2.
Manchester City loan pair James McAtee and Tommy Doyle scored the goals that set Sheffield United back on the Championship promotion trail with victory at Sunderland.
The two midfielders struck after Edouard Michut’s first goal for the Black Cats had put the home side ahead, against the run of play.
The three points allowed the Blades to take advantage of Middlesbrough dropping points in a draw with Stoke City 24 hours earlier and open up a six-point lead in the race for the second automatic promotion spot.
Sunderland began the night hoping to build on their fine win at Norwich City at the weekend and boost themselves back into the play-off reckoning, but they ended up slumping to a fourth defeat in their past five league games.
Victory for the visitors put a halt to their slide in fortunes after they had lost four of their previous six to give Boro hope of catching them.
The Blades were on the front foot from the first whistle, pinning Sunderland back, with keeper Anthony Patterson producing a fine save to deny Daniel Jebbison, making only his fourth start of the season as manager Paul Heckingbottom made four changes from the side that lost to Luton Town on Saturday.
The Blades’ dominance counted for nothing, however, as Paris St-Germain loanee Michut found himself in space, superbly created by Joe Gelhardt’s distracting run, to collect Abdoullah Ba’s pass and fire into the far corner on the half-hour mark.
The visitors were level in added time in the first half as wing-back George Baldock carried the ball down the right and slipped a pass inside to McAtee, one of the players drafted in by Heckingbottom. He took the pass with a silken touch, feinted, and then stroked the ball into the far corner for a top-class finish.
McAtee turned provider for Iliman Ndiaye early in the second half, only for Patterson to make a great block with his leg, but the Blades were not to be denied.
Doyle whipped in a free-kick from wide on the left and with Sander Berge’s attempt to get a touch distracting Patterson, the ball bounced into the far corner. The Sunderland defence protested, as Berge had clearly been in an offside position, but the goal stood.
Sunderland finally rallied, with Wes Foderingham forced into a terrific one-handed save from Jack Clarke, and Patrick Roberts cutting in from the right flank to bounce a shot off the far post.
The response fizzled out as Heckingbottom’s side managed the game to a conclusion as Sunderland’s dismal home form – just six wins in 18 – continued.
- Match Stats
- Live Text
- 32HumeBooked at 27mins
- 5BallardBooked at 90mins
- 13O’NienSubstituted forEkwahat 87′minutes
- 25MichutBooked at 71minsSubstituted forGoochat 72′minutes
- 17BaSubstituted forLihadjiat 72′minutes
- 28GelhardtSubstituted forPritchardat 72′minutes
- 15AhmedhodzicBooked at 55mins
- 19RobinsonBooked at 20mins
- 2BaldockSubstituted forBogleat 78′minutes
- 22DoyleBooked at 35minsSubstituted forNorwoodat 78′minutes
- 28McAteeSubstituted forFleckat 80′minutes
- 13LoweBooked at 24mins
- 29NdiayeSubstituted forSharpat 90+2′minutes
- 36JebbisonSubstituted forMcBurnieat 70′minutes
- Matt Donohue
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sunderland 1, Sheffield United 2.
Dan Ballard (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Lynden Gooch (Sunderland).
Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Offside, Sunderland. Daniel Neil tries a through ball, but Dan Ballard is caught offside.
Danny Batth (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Anel Ahmedhodzic (Sheffield United).
Foul by Lynden Gooch (Sunderland).
Iliman Ndiaye (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Jayden Bogle.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Danny Batth (Sunderland).
Substitution, Sunderland. Pierre Ekwah replaces Luke O’Nien because of an injury.
Luke O’Nien (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sander Berge (Sheffield United).
Foul by Dan Ballard (Sunderland).