Campbell, Noble seal Sunderland win

EQUALISER: Fraizer Campbell

EQUALISER: Fraizer Campbell

0
Have your say

Final score: Sunderland 3 Groningen 2

Second half report:-

Sunderland laboured hard to change the flow of the game in their favour.

Up until the hour-mark, all they had to show for their efforts was a hopeful shot from Craig Lynch and a free-kick from Craig Gardner which went straight into the gloves of keeper Luciano.

Groningen looked more incisive when they attacked with pacey wideman Mitchell Schett stretching Kieran Richardson constantly.

Martin O’Neill made his first change of the second-half in the 60th minute, replacing Craig Lynch with Louis Laing who slotted in comfortably at centre-half with John Egan moving to right-back.

The switch freed Gardner to get further upfield and he repaid the change by producing a goal-bound shot in the 63rd which was diverted out for a corner from which they could not make no progress.

Sunderland replaced keeper Ben Wilson with Jordan Pickford in the 63rd minute but it was at the other end of the pitch that they needed to make a difference.

Midway through the half and Sunderland were struggling to threaten.

Defensively, they looked strong with Laing at ease while Pickford made an eye-catching parry in the 70th minute and another block in the 75th to thwart lethal balls in from the left flank.

With quarter-of-an hour to go, O’Neill brought on young striker Ryan Noble for Kieran Richardson in a bid to snatch something from the game but it was still Groningen at that stage looking the side more likely to score the next goal.

In the dying stages the Wearsiders carved out a couple of half-chances, a Noble cross from the right caused havoc before being cleared; then Fraizer Campbell volleyed a hopeful effort high over the bar.

But just when it all looked lost for Sunderland though, Noble held the ball up well, got it out to Craig Gardner on the right flank and his low, angled cross was steered home inside the six-yard box by Campbell.

There was still time for Groningen to spoil the party but from an inch-perfect cross from the right in the last minute of the game, saw substitute Genero Zeefuik fired wide of an open goal.

And then, in the last move of the game, Noble raced forward on to a long ball forward, held off a challenge, and absolutely hammered a rising volley over keeper Luciano from 25 yards out.

The ball flew into the top left-hand corner of goal and the globe-trotting Sunderland fans immediately behind it finally had something of significance on this tour to celebrate.

The opening few minutes saw Groningen go closest to goal with a couple of long-range efforts but Fraizer Campbell had a half-chance in the fourth minute, close in, only to lash wide from a narrow angle.

Cuellar conceded the first corner of the game in the seventh minute and Sunderland lived dangerously from the ball in from the left before clearing their lines.

Sunderland continued under pressure but the debutant had hardly any more involvement, being replaced by Titus Bramble with barely a dozen minutes on the clock.

Despite that, Ben Wilson didn’t have a save to make until the quarter-hour, and when he did, it was a good one – diving athletically to pluck Leandro Bacuna’s shot away from the top left-hand corner of goal.

Sunderland took the lead in the 18th minute from a free-kick earned when David Meyler was crudely bought down.

Craig Gardner lofted in a cross which wasn’t dealt with, Titus Bramble six yards out tried unsuccessfully to squeeze the ball past opposition defenders but the ball rolled out to Connor Wickham who tapped it home from close range.

The striker glanced up for offside but the flag stayed down and Sunderland had their first goal of the Peace Cup and the lead.

Groningen pushed for an equaliser but lacked any precision in the couple of efforts they carved out before the half-hour.

Sunderland were starting to look comfortable but midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld posted a warning in the 35th minute with a spectacular long range shot which Wilson palmed over.

And in the 37th minute the Dutch equalised through skipper and lone striker Hyun Jun Suk who acrobatically flicked a ball up with his back to goal and produced an overhead kick which beat Wilson diving to his left.

Half-a-dozen minutes later and Wilson was beaten again as winger Mitchell Schet cut in from the right-wing, fending off pressure from Kieran Richardson to steer a low shot across the Sunderland keeper and into the bottom right-hand corner of his goal.

Just when it all looked lost for Sunderland though, Ryan Noble held the ball up well, got it out to Craig Gardner on the right flank and his low, angled cross was steered home inside the six-yard box by Campbell to salvage a point for Sunderland.

There was still time for Groningen to spoil the party but from an inch-perfect cross from the right in the last minute of the game, saw substitute Genero Zeefuik fired wide of an open goal.

And then, in the last move of the game, Ryan Noble raced forward on to a long ball forward, held off a challenge, and absolutely hammered a rising volley over keeper Luciano from 25 yards out.

The ball flew into the top left-hand corner of goal and the globe-trotting Sunderland fans immediately behind it finally had something of significance on this tour to celebrate.