Sunderland's financial reward plus Lee Johnson's touchline message to Leon Dajaku: Moments you may have missed against Bradford
It was a strange evening at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland lost a penalty shootout but claimed the point they needed to top their Papa John’s Trophy group.
A 1-1 draw with Bradford means Lee Johnson’s side will receive a home tie in the next round of the competition after winning Northern Group F, yet the performance wasn’t totally convincing.
Johnson named a stronger side than what many expected but used the match to take a closer look at players who haven’t received much game time in recent weeks.
Here are some of the moments you may have missed:
The meaningless penalty shootout
There is always a sense of excitement when a game goes to penalties, yet this one had zero sporting or financial benefit for either side.
The 1-1 draw meant Sunderland topped the group, while Bradford couldn’t qualify after losing their opening two games in the competition against Lincoln and Manchester United Under-21s.
Clubs also receive £5,000 each for drawing a group match – it’s £10,000 for a win – but that does not increase for the team that wins on penalties.
Bradford took the redundant bonus point after winning the shootout 4-2, as Lynden Gooch and Alex Pritchard missed from the spot for Sunderland.
The Black Cats will now find out their next opponents when the draw is made on Saturday.
Second-round matches will be played on the week commencing November 29.
Johnson’s message to Leon Dajaku
Like against Mansfield in the FA Cup on Saturday, Sunderland winger Leon Dajaku endured a frustrating first half.
The German winger, 20, clearly has speed and ability but has looked very raw since moving to Wearside on transfer deadline day.
Dajaku started on the right against Bradford but moved to the left in the second half, meaning he was still playing directly in front of the Sunderland dugout.
That made it easier for Johnson and his coaching staff to pass instructions onto the German, and it was clear they were telling him to try and run in behind the opposition’s backline.
The instructions almost paid off when Luke O’Nien released Dajaku with a ball over the top of the visitors’ defence, but the latter’s low effort was saved by goalkeeper Sam Hornby – before Will Harris’ headed rebound was cleared off the line.
Carl Winchester keeps his cool
After coming on with 18 minutes to go, Carl Winchester didn’t take much time to get up to speed.
The Northern Irishman replaced Harrison Sonha in midfield, but found himself with the ball at his feet inside his own penalty area as Sunderland looked to play out from the back.
With Bradford players applying pressure, Winchester ran across his own penalty area before calmly checking back and releasing the ball.
The move received an amused cheer from the home crowd, which was understandably reduced given this was essentially a dead rubber.
Still, Sunderland were backed by a fan who had decided to bring a loud horn to the game, which could be heard repeatedly throughout the fixture.