From a goalkeeping error to more super subs and a Charlie Wyke brace: Exactly what happened as Sunderland win 3-1 again
SUnderland gain produced a strong late show to run out 3-1 winners over Carlisle United.
A brace from Charlie Wyke led a strong revival in the final half hour, after an error from Remi Matthews gave the visitors a lead in what had been a tepid contest.
Chris Maguire was also on the scoresheet and alongside Dan Neil, formed an impressive attacking trident in the closing stages as a quiet game finally forged some promising openings.
Parkinson had, as expected, overhauled almost entirely the side that had faced Gateshead, with Conor McLaughlin and Tom Flanagan the only players to retain their place in the starting XI.
It gave an opportunity to those who had impressed in the latter stages of that 3-1 win to gain more momentum and push themselves further into contention for the season start.
Matthews was handed his debut in goal but there was no place in the squad for trialist Arbenit Xhemajli as player and club weigh up their next steps.
Xhemajli, incidentally, has been called into the Kosovo U21 and senior squads for their upcoming internations.
The Black Cats started brightly, and ought to have taken the lead with an excellent bit of early play.
Matthews picked out Diamond, playing this time on the left of the back five, with a superb long-range pass.
Diamond did superbly to get free of his marker, standing up a good cross to the back post from the left byline.
McLaughlin had made a good run into the box and was totally unmarked, but found himself denied by an excellent stop as Paul Farman stood tall to make the block.
It was a lively start that belied what was a sedate half to follow.
Carlisle had started the game looking composed in possession, and were unlucky not to forge a chance with a couple of good pieces of play, creating space between the centre-backs and wing-backs but without the end product to make it count.
They found themselves exposed on the counter fifteen minutes in, when Josh Scowen sprung Will Grigg free with a tremendous pass over the top from just inside his own half. Grigg opted to delay and wait for support, his eventual cross into the box too easy for Farman to gather.
For the most part, Sunderland looked like a side still trying to finding fluidity and chances were at a premium.
Grigg and Aiden O’Brien were trying hard to stretch the defence but with little reward.
They did come close five minutes before the break, Diamond driving infield and prevented from getting a shot away only by an excellent challenge on the edge of the box.
The ball broke to Scowen who took one touch before pushing an effort just wide of the post.
The energetic midfielder was arguably the biggest plus point of the opening half, showing quality on the ball and tenacity off it.
Just as they had done on Saturday, Parkinson’s whole changes yielded an almost immediate response. Chris Maguire did well to find space on the right of the box, his low drive palmed away from Farman.
Denver Hume, who drawn a save moments earlier with a fairly tepid effort, now fired in an excellent low cross that was turned home at the near post by Wyke.
The Black Cats were beginning to carve open their opponents and should have ahead moments later after some excellent interplay between Wyke and Maguire. The Scot played a ball across goal to Dan Neil, who just snatched at the chance and fired it well over the bar. Neil was again a bright presence as he continues to make an impression, and his miss was soon consigned to memory as Sunderland took the lead.
Grant Leadbitter took the Carlisle defence out the game with a wonderful floated pass, taken on the turn and lofted first time into the path of Luke O’Nien as he surged forward. His pass across goal left Maguire with the simplest of finishes, and he almost doubled his tally again with an effort that flashed just wide of Farman’s post moments later.
A third goal looked inevitable and arrived with just over ten minutes to play.
O’Nien curled a terrific cross from deep on the right towards the box, the early ball catching the away defence off guard. Neil took it first time and with real confidence, desperately unlucky to see his shot his the post. Wyke was alert and showed good composure to take a touch and turn home another simple finish.
Carlisle tried to rally but in the end it was a comfortable close to the game for Parkinson’s side.
Starting XI: Matthews; McLaughlin, Willis, Feeney, Flanagan, Diamond; Power, Scowen; O’Brien, Gooch, Grigg
Change XI: Patterson; O'Nien, Taylor, Wright, Flanagan, Hume; Leadbitter, Dobson; Maguire, Neil; Wyke