Phil Smith's player ratings: 'Exceptional' Grant Leadbitter and forwards score highly as Sunderland claim dramatic Gillingham victory

Sunderland did it the hard way as they battled to victory over Gillingham - but how did their players rate in the triumph?

Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 9:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 9:37 pm
How did Sunderland's stars rate in the dramatic win over Gillingham?

Goals from Lee Cattermole, Tom Flanagan, Will Grigg and Aiden McGeady handed the Black Cats victory, but defensive demons came back to haunt Jack Ross' side as they once again looked fragile at the back. But which individuals shone - and struggled - for Sunderland against Gillingham? Scroll down and click through the pages to see how our Sunderland AFC writer, Phil Smith, rated their performances:

Little he could do about either goal but generally less commanding than usual and distribution was uncertain. 6
Struggled defensively in the first half and positioning was poor. But showed in the second why Ross keeps picking him by breaking into the box and winning two crucial penalties. 7

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Looked uncertain on occasions but came through those nervy moments. 6
Great header for Sunderlands second, his first goal for the club. Involved in Gillinghams opener but had to intervene as Eaves prepared to strike. A decent return to the side. 6
An improvement on an indifferent showing against Accrington Stanley. Rarely beaten and got forward to offer another outlet. 6
Early goal was only one part of a very good return to the starting XI. Looked fresh, showed composure on the ball and battled well. 7
Left the field to a standing ovation with five minutes to play. Performance generally was very good and used possession well. Set piece delivery was exceptional and suddenly Sunderland are a massive threat. 8
Looked to be enjoying his new role on the right wing in the early stages. Less effective when moved infield after Maguires injury but did his best to support Grigg. 6
Successful penalty made it his best ever goalscoring season already. Persevered even when his team wobbled. Unselfishly gave the first to Grigg so he could get off and running. 7
Fifteen minutes was enough to see how he balances Sunderlands shape on his best form. Looked lively before coming off with injury and that will be a big concern for the Black Cats. 6
Got off the mark despite the fact this was probably his quietest game of the week. Still ran the channels well and showed some very good touches. Should be able to relax considerably now. 6
Got into some very good positions shortly after coming on but couldnt deliver the crucial final ball. 6
Helped see the game out in brief cameo. N/A
No time to make an impact. N/A