Exactly what happened and who impressed as Will Grigg snatches pre-season win for Sunderland
Will Grigg snatched a win for Sunderland in their final pre-season friendly with a last-minute header against Hull City.
Ross Stewart had put his side ahead in an impressive first-half display, thanks in no small part to a superb assist from the again impressive Elliot Embleton.
Josh Magennis equalised for the visitors in the second half but Grigg’s intervention sealed the win in the final moments.
The Black Cats had seen their pre-match preparations take a significant hit due to an outbreak of gastroenteritis within the group, which sidelined some senior players and a number of the U23 youngsters who have stepped up of late.
Head coach Lee Johnson was also missing as a result of the outbreak, but will be encouraged by some of the entertaining forward play from his young side.
Though Hull City had the first effort when Ryan Longman burst into the box from the right, Sunderland controlled possession for the most part and were causing their opponents problems.
They almost took the lead when Embleton burst into the box after a fine one-two with Lynden Gooch, but his effort was over the bar.
Hull were having chances, mainly through Sunderland’s own errors in possession.
On two occasions they gave it away in dangerous areas, with Anthony Patterson making good saves from Keane Lewis-Potter and Josh Magennis.
The Black Cats bravery was rewarded, though, when they took the lead 25 minutes in.
Luke O’Nien won possession back with a crunching talent in midfield, and from their the counter-attack was impressively ruthless. Embleton drove through midfield and released Stewart with a fine pass, and the Scot made no mistake as he fired past Ingram.
Though Magennis went close shortly after, Sunderland visibly grew in confidence from their goal and were unfortunate not to extend their lead before the break.
Embleton was again at the heart of the good play, first gathering possession after Neil and Hawkes had combined well down the left. He cut inside from the left and drew a decent stop from Ingram as he curled an effort towards the far corner.
Moments later he almost the Hull City goalkeeper out, this time firing low towards the bottom-left corner from a similar position. Ingram did well to make the save, and the hosts were unfortunate that Stewart saw his volley from the following corner blocked.
There was little between the two sides in the opening stages of the second half, the Black Cats comfortable in possession without really threatening.
They almost broke through when Embleton again burst towards the edge of the box, but he was just unable to release the pass for Gooch in space.
It was Hull who had the first real chance, Longman firing wide of the far post when running through on goal.
The winger was increasingly finding space as Sunderland made changes.
That flank did prove the host’s undoing, but this time it was the full-back Lewie Coyle who burst into space, his low cross turned home by Josh Magennis.
It was a deserved equaliser on balance of play, though Sunderland’s response was almost immediate as O’Brien nodded wide.
Hull had the better of the chances in the latter stages, but when a corner was nodded across goal it was the substitute Grigg who was there to convert,