Brief Corry Evans injury scare, Trevor Carson's involvement plus Aiden McGeady's return for Sunderland: Moments you may have missed at Morecambe

With 17 minutes remaining and Sunderland’s place in the League One play-offs all but confirmed, Alex Neil knew there was no need to take any risks.

Sunday, 1st May 2022, 10:00 am

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The Black Cats boss had already been forced to withdraw goalscorer Nathan Broadhead due to another injury setback at Morecambe’s Mazuma Stadium, leaving Ross Stewart as his only available striker.

And with MK Dons winning convincingly at Plymouth, meaning it would have taken a remarkable turnaround for Sunderland to drop out of the top six, Neil elected to replace his top scorer with Jay Matete – a holding midfielder for a centre forward.

Alex Pritchard was the next player to be substituted nine minutes later, meaning Sunderland finished the match with an unorthodox front two of Jack Clarke and Dan Neil.

Sunderland captain Corry Evans returns to the pitch following a heavy tackle. Picture by FRANK REID

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As has been the case in recent weeks, several Black Cats players have had to adapt to new roles due to injuries and a lack of options in certain areas.

Luke O’Nien played the whole match in a left-sided centre-back role as Sunderland secured a 1-0 win here, courtesy of Broadhead’s 10th-minute finish.

Here are some of the other moments you may have missed:

Corry Evans injury concern

While Neil was trying to rest some of his key attacking players in the closing stages, he would have also wanted to protect his captain.

After a difficult start to the campaign, Corry Evans has been the heartbeat of Sunderland’s team in recent weeks and was influential again at Morecambe, sweeping up danger when his side were under pressure.

There was a brief scare in the first half when Morecambe midfielder Adam Phillips chopped down Evans and the Sunderland man looked in some discomfort.

Thankfully it wasn’t serious, with the Black Cats now preparing for a play-off semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday.

"Yeah listen you get kicks and knocks in games and sometimes you just need a couple of minutes just to let the pain settle,” said Evans when speaking to the press after the match.

Ex-Sunderland keeper faces former club

While he didn’t make a single appearance for Sunderland, fans may have remembered former Black Cats goalkeeper Trevor Carson who started between the sticks for Morecambe.

The 34-year-old came through the ranks on Wearside and was loaned out to several clubs before moving to Bury in 2012.

Carson has been on loan at Morecambe from Dundee United since January and has played a key part in helping the Shrimps stay up.

Sunderland only managed three shots on target here, but Carson did manage to keep his side in the contest by repelling Patrick Roberts’ close-range effort in the 70th minute.

For the first time in five months Aiden McGeady was back in Sunderland’s matchday squad.

The 36-year-old has been sidelined with a long-term knee injury which he picked up at Shrewsbury in November but was named on the bench here.

McGeady has been building up his fitness at the Academy of Light in recent weeks and was out on the pitch doing some running drills before Sunderland’s 1-1 draw with Rotherham at the Stadium of Light.

The Republic of Ireland winger wasn’t brought on at Morecambe, yet the sold-out away end were pleased to see him back, singing chants of ‘Aiden McGeady runs down the wing for me’ on multiple occasions.