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Sunderland 1-1 Northampton Town: FLW reports as Lee Johnson’s side limp into play-offs with dour display



Sunderland will face Lincoln City in the play-offs after being held to a disappointing 1-1 draw against Northampton Town.

The result sees the Black Cats finish fourth in League One with a double-header against the Imps standing between them and a spot in the Wembley showpiece later this month.

Lee Johnson made just one change for the clash, with Charlie Wyke returning to the starting XI in place of Ross Stewart.

There was also a number of changes for the visitors as newly-appointed Jon Brady looked to take a look at his squad with a view to challenging for promotion from League Two next term.

It was a bright start for Sunderland who had an opportunity inside two minutes as some neat work from Jack Diamond led the ball to Jordan Jones who had a low effort easily saved by Jon Mitchell in the visiting goal.

In truth the first half had a real end-of-season feel about it with neither side really approaching the contest with much in the way of urgency.

One focus for the players selected was battling to ensure that they’re part of the Sunderland side who will take on the play-offs.

Lynden Gooch and Jack Diamond have been in and out of the team during recent months but both looked very lively indeed during the first half as they tried in vain to make something happen for the hosts.

The final chance of a dour first half came when the ball was laid off to Max Power who side-footed his effort harmlessly wide of the mark.

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Aiden McGeady was introduced at the interval in an attempt to inject some life into the game, with Chris Maguire following shortly after.

There was no question over Lee Johnson’s intentions for the second half.

Jordan Jones had a relatively quiet first half but went close after 56 minutes after surging in from the right flank before hitting the side-netting with a curling effort.

Aiden O’Brien was introduced alongside Carl Winchester and Grant Leadbitter midway through the half and had an immediate chance when he floated wide of the mark from the edge of the area.

Jones then had the best chance of the game as the ball was played to him in the area, but the Rangers man blazed his effort over the bar.

Maguire was next to have a pop but the winger’s fizzed effort was easily saved by the goalkeeper.

The breakthrough came after 84 minutes, but instead of going to Sunderland it went in the direction of Northampton Town.

A low free-kick from Sam Hoskins deflected off the wall and past Lee Burge in the home goal, much to the delight of the travelling Cobblers.

Thankfully for Johnson’s side, that seem to spur them into action with Carl Winchester tapping home from close-range after a cross from Jones had evaded the goalkeeper before bouncing off both posts and into the midfielder’s lap.

That goal secured a point and fourth place for Sunderland, but a point against already-relegation Northampton is hardly the inspiring result that they’ll have been hoping to secure ahead of a crucial play-off double-header.

North East-based EFL writer and aspiring author

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Sunderland 1-1 Northampton Town: FLW reports as Lee Johnson’s side limp into play-offs with dour display

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