SUNDERLAND’S flat pre-season stuttered to a fourth defeat in six friendly outings today after the Black Cats were beaten 1-0 by Championship Leicester City.
Substitute Tom Parkes’ goal proved sufficient to separate the sides on Martin O’Neill’s return to his former club, as Sunderland laboured in the dress rehearsal for their Premier League opener at Arsenal next Saturday.
Leicester were by far the better side in the opening half and would have broken the deadlock if it wasn’t for the efforts of Sunderland keeper Keiren Westwood.
The second half was a more even affair, but Leicester got the goal they deserved when Parkes bundled the ball home from a corner with 15 minutes to go.
Sunderland responded, with Seb Larsson hitting the crossbar and then McClean seeing a header saved which looked to have crossed the line.
But it was a familiar tale of Sunderland toiling as an attacking force after finding the net just four times during pre-season and reinforcing O’Neill’s need for new recruits up front.
Full report in tonight’s Football Echo.