How two stunning strikes completed a shock Sunderland comeback on a challenging afternoon

Sunderland were going nowhere in this contest.

Saturday, 27th February 2021, 5:02 pm

They had been outplayed and outfought all over the pitch, what looked like a costly afternoon worsened by an injury to Grant Leadbitter.

Then came two of the finest strikes you will ever see; a potentially priceless point rescued.

Jordan Jones sparked the revival, a magnificent strike giving his side hoped.

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Chris Maguire celebrates his stunning equaliser

Fellow substitute Chris Maguire completed a remarkable comeback with a stunning hit of his own, volleying into the roof of the net to produce a result Sunderland barely deserved.

It said everything about that first-half performance that Sunderland could consider themselves fortunate to get to the interval only two down.

They had started out in the same system from which they threatened against Fleetwood Town on Tuesday night, Lynden Gooch in an advanced role as Johnson looked to seize the initiative.

Aiden O'Brien did threaten with an early half chance but from there the visitors were consistently the architects of their own downfall.

By the time Porter put Crewe ahead on the half-hour mark, they had spurned a number of opportunities ot get ahead.

Almost all of them came from Sunderland giting away possession.

All over the pitch the Black Cats were losing their duels, and the imposing front line of Porter and Mikael Mandron were causing problems.

Burge had to do well to save from Lowery early on, before Dion Sanderson cleared an effort off the lin after the Black Cats misjudged their own throw in near the byline.

Former Black Cat Mandron has been a thorn in Sunderland's side of late and produced the assist for both goals. The first came from a throw in at which Sunderland were far too passive, Mandron getting in down the left and crossing for Porter to convert from close range.

The second goal came as Gooch was dispossessed high up the pitch, Crewe able to counter unopposed.

This time Mandron got into space down the right of the Sunderland goal, his low ball turned home by Lowery.

Johnson resisted the urge to make changes at the break and though Wyke and O’Brien went close after a better start to the half, he quickly moved to make a raft of switches in search of a response.

Leadbitter was one of quartet introduced but had to leave the pitch in agony just four minutes later after hurting his shoulder off the ball.

That injury had prevented the Black Cats building any momentum and it took a moment of individual brilliance to get them back into the game with fifteen mintues to play.

There looked to be little danger when substitute Jones picked up the ball on the left flank, but his spectacular effort from range flew into the far corner.

Luke O'Nien should have equalised moments later when Maguire whipped a superb free-kick across goal, but the centre-back just failed to make a connection.

Jones looked a threat every time he broke forward and when he won another free-kick out on the left, a stunning Maguire delivery again somehow eluded all of his team-mates.

The attacking midfielder had no choice but to do it himself, leaving an impressive Crewe side scratching their heads as he rifled in from the edge of the area.

Sunderland XI: Burge; McLaughlin, Sanderson, O’Nien; Gooch (Leadbitter, 59 (Winchester, 63)), Power, Scowen, McFadzean (Diamond, 59); O’Brien (Maguire, 59), McGeady (Jones, 59), Wyke

Subs: Matthews, Vokins

Crewe Alexandra XI: Richards, Daniels, Wood, Beckles, Pickering; Lowery, Murphy, Wintle, Kirk; Porter (Dale. 85), Mandron

Subs: Jaaskelainen, Powell, Lancashire, Johnson, Walker, Evans

Bookings: McFadzean, 35

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