Phil Smith's Sunderland AFC player ratings: Jon McLaughlin 'exceptional' but how did Will Grigg perform?

Will Grigg made his Sunderland debut but he couldn't inspire a win at Oxford United, the Black Cats having to settle for a point.

Saturday, 9th February 2019, 16:24 pm
Updated Saturday, 9th February 2019, 16:37 pm
Jimmy Dunne celebrates his goal. Getty Images.

Jimmy Dunne headed Sunderland in front in the 34th minute from a Grant Leadbitter corner but they couldn't hold on, Marcus Browne scoring the equaliser in the 87th minute following an assist by ex-Sunderland forward Jerome Sinclair. Phil Smith's player ratings below:

Another exceptional display of goalkeeping. A string of excellent saves looked like it might prove to be the difference for Sunderland. Result would have been worse without him. 9
Struggled against Jordan Graham in the early stages but the Wolves loanee faded in the second half as the Welshman came through a tough challenge. 6
Distribution was very poor on his return to the side but fought well on a difficult afternoon. 6

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

His first Sunderland goal was just one part of a superb showing. Battled brilliantly in the air and made some vital covering challenges. Possible fouled in build up to equalising goal. 7
Quality in the final third was not quite as good as usual and he was beaten occasionally by Gavin Whyte, whose end product was very poor. 6
Showed real experience and maturity at the base of midfield. Set piece delivery was a major upgrade and forced the opening goal. 6
Good industry and real tenacity but didnt affect the game much in possession. 5
Covered an incredible amount of ground but end product on the ball was mixed. 5
Looked a threat early on but struggled to get into the game after that and was unsurprisingly taken off with the visitors on the back foot in the second half. 5
Not an explosive performance from the winger but an intelligent one. Showed a good first touch and good awareness to carry the ball when needed. 6
A very quiet debut though in fairness, there was very little service in a game that Sunderland spent most of on the back foot. 5
Little time to make a real impact on the game. N/A
Held the ball up well and won a lot of headers. A good substitute appearance with his team struggling. 6
Couldnt exploit a couple of opportunities to drive at goal but tracked back well. 6