Juan Sartori returns to Sunderland, Adebayo Akinfenwa’s reception and other moments you may have missed against Wycombe Wanderers
Sunderland recorded their most impressive victory of the season after beating Wycombe Wanderers 3-1 at the Stadium of Light – but there were some moments the cameras may have missed.
Following their relegation from the Championship last season, Wycombe have aspirations to return to the second tier and were unbeaten this campaign before making the trip to Wearside.
Yet first-half goals from Ross Stewart and Elliot Embleton put Gareth Ainsworth’s side on the back foot after the visitors had made a lively start.
Stewart then sealed the win by scoring his second goal of the match seven minutes from time, before Wycombe substitute David Wheeler pulled a goal back with a deflected effort in stoppage time.
From crowd reactions to refereeing decisions, here are some of the moments you might have missed:
Juan Sartori returns
New Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has regularly been in attendance, home and away, since the Black Cats’ takeover was completed in February.
Yet the 24-year-old was joined by another familiar face in the directors box against Wycombe, as Juan Sartori sat alongside him.
Sartori was part of the old Mandrox regime and held a 20 per cent stake in the club when Stewart Donald was Sunderland chairman.
The appointment of Sartori, who stepped down as a club director in February, onto Sunderland’s board after Louis-Dreyfus bought the club was therefore something of a surprise,
Still, the Uruguayan does retain a shareholding in the club, so a relationship between the new regime and the old remains important.
It should also be reiterated that, while members of the Mandrox regime still have a stake in the club and there are some unresolved questions in terms of the ownership structure, Louis-Dreyfus is the majority shareholder who is ultimately responsible for footballing strategy.
Adebayo Akinfenwa’s reception
With his team 2-0 down and looking for a route back into the match, Ainsworth looked to his bench.
There were 16 minutes remaining when the Chairboys boss decided to bring on his final two substitutes as Adebayo Akinfenwa and Tjay De Barr replaced Sullay Kaikai and Sam Vokes.
Akinfenwa, 39, is one of the EFL’s most iconic players due to his bubbly personality and 16-stone (101 kg) frame.
The frontman is widely regarded as the strongest man in football and is nicknamed ‘The Beast’ because of his stature.
Sunderland fans did their best to rattle the Wycombe striker as he stood on the touchline and prepared to enter the fray.
Yet Akinfenwa simply laughed off chants about his weight and appeared to use the stick as motivation in the closing stages.
The 39-year-old made an impact as he was able to hold the ball up in the final third when Wycombe built some late pressure.
There was also a moment when Akinfenwa controlled the ball excellently on the edge of the penalty area before turning and registering a shot at goal, yet Sunderland keeper Anthony Patterson held it comfortably.
Wycombe fortunate to keep 11 men on the pitch
The visitors were fortunate not to be reduced to ten men after midfielder Anis Mehmeti appeared to lash out at Luke O’Nien midway through the first half.
It’s an incident which wasn’t spotted by the officials after Sunderland had taken a two-goal lead, but was picked up by the EFL’s highlights show on Quest.
When discussing the match, presenter Colin Murray started by reviewing a clip which showed Mehmeti throwing an arm at O’Nien in an off-the-ball incident.
"Loads of incidents to talk about here including this,” said Murray. “Who punches Luke O’Nien by the way? Literally the nicest man in the EFL.”
Former Reading midfielder and studio guest Jobi McAnuff added: “It was a hard one to see. I think it might have been Mehmeti. I hope I’m not doing him a disservice."
Having looked back at the incident, you can only assume the officials didn’t see it, in which case the FA can look at it retrospectively.
Ross Stewart’s late penalty appeal
After scoring twice in what was an outstanding all-round striker’s display, Stewart will have been keen to make it three.
It looked like that chance might come in the 89th minute when O’Nien played a well-weighted ball over the Wycombe defence for Stewart to chase.
The striker beat visiting defender Jack Grimmer to the ball before the Wycombe player pushed his opponent in the back.
It was a clear goalscoring opportunity, and the only question appeared to be if Stewart was in or outside the box.
If a spot kick had been given, Stewart would have surely been handed the chance to score his first Sunderland hat-trick, yet referee John Busby waved play-on.
Thankfully for Sunderland they were 3-0 up at the time and the decision had little bearing on the outcome.
A frustrating afternoon for Josh Scowen
There was another familiar face in the visitors' midfield as former Sunderland midfielder Josh Scowen returned to the Stadium of Light.
The 28-year-old came through the ranks at Wycombe and returned to the club this summer, after making 54 appearances for Sunderland during an 18-month spell on Wearside.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Scowen as, while his side saw more of the ball in the first half, they struggled to break the Black Cats down.
In the final third, Sunderland’s midfielders showed more quality as Embleton curled home his side’s second goal with a stunning strike, and Dan Neil assisted Stewart’s second goal in the 83rd minute.