Hartlepool United 1-2 Sunderland player ratings: Who impressed as late Lens free-kick wins it for Cats

Donaldson scores the equaliser for Hartlepool
Donaldson scores the equaliser for Hartlepool
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A late winner from Jeremain Lens gave Sunderland a 2-1 win over Hartlepool United at Victoria Park.

Here's how the Black Cats rated...

Max Stryjek

Had very little to do and was beaten by a fine finish from Ryan Donaldson for the equaliser. Dealt with set-pieces well but little indication yet as to how he would fare in the Championship. 6

Billy Jones

Improved as the game went on after a couple of errors in possession during the opening stages. Typically robust in the challenge. 5

Tyias Browning

Grayson seems to be eyeing him for a centre-half berth and showed his pace and strength throughout. Has made a solid start to his Sunderland career. 6

Lamine Kone

Looked panicked with his clearances and still a long way short of the dominant Premier League force of a year or so ago. 5

Adam Matthews

Caught out when Donaldson got inside him to score Hartlepool’s equaliser. The left-back position has been a concern for the Black Cats in pre-season with a lot of goals conceded down that flank. 5

Lee Cattermole

Not quite on the same wavelength as his attackers when it came to his long passing but made some strong challenges and will be better for the full 90 minutes. 6

Darron Gibson

Came close with a half-volley from distance in the second half but struggled to really dominate the game with some slack passing. A good interception should have set Maja away for a late winner before he was cynically pulled back. Lens would score the free-kick that followed. 6

George Honeyman

Excellent industry and his best performance pre-season yet in terms of use of possession. Must surely be worth trying him further infield at some stage. 6

Josh Maja (STAR MAN)

Faded in the second half but showed again in the first his willingness to drop deep and show for the ball. Penalty was superbly taken and a sign of his confidence. 7

Joel Asoro

Struggled early on but really grew into the first half and was Sunderland’s biggest threat. Great awareness to force the penalty as he nicked the ball from Louis Laing. 7

James Vaughan

Came close with an audacious overhead kick in the first half but otherwise failed to make much of an impact up front. Showed his high work-rate again. 6


John O’Shea (Browning 61) 5

Jeremain Lens (Asoro 61) 7

Donald Love (Jones 61) 6

Papy Djilobodji (Matthews 71) 6

Wahbi Khazri (Honeyman 71) 6

Ndong (James Vaughan 71) 6