Sunderland made the short 60 mile trip west as they beat Carlisle United in the EFL Cup second round.
Simon Grayson made 10 changes from the team that were hammered by Leeds on Saturday; the only constant being Gabon born central midfielder Didier Ndong. Grayson went with one up front in Joel Asoro, he probably would’ve played two up top if youngster Josh Maja hadn’t have been ruled out through injury. A competitive debut was handed to goalie Robbin Ruiter, as well as a return from injury for Bryan Oviedo.
Sunderland started in an unconvincing and lackluster fashion, with some players looking totally incapable of playing – to name them Wahbi Khazri, Papy Djilobodji, Adam Matthews and Darron Gibson.
The first half chance fell to Carlisle’s Richie Bennett but he could only head wide of debutant Robbin Ruiter’s goal. Adam Matthews then gave the ball away inside his own half, Carlisle played it wide to Irishman Jamie Devitt who crossed it to Ellis but his effort was straight at Ruiter who turned it away.
Carlisle weren’t finished though as an inswinging cross was cleared by Djilobodji – even though it was heading for a goal kick. It fell for Devitt who tested Ruiter with a left footed shot towards the top of the goal but the lumbering Dutchman turned over for a corner ball.
Not long after this Sunderland had their first real chance, apart from a few half chances for Asoro in the opening stages, it came for Tunisian Khazri who hit a shot from outside the area but it was too close to goalkeeper Jack Bonham.
Some good link up play down the left between Khazri and Oviedo eventually found American Lynden Gooch who beat the full back and smashed it across the six yard area to Sunderland right back Donald Love who finished in the empty net to make it 1-0, much to the amusement of the 1900 travelling supporters.
Another delightful ball by Gooch caught the Blues on the counter as he played in young Swedish striker Joel Asoro. He beat both centre halfs for pace before trying to beat Bonham through his legs, but the on loan Brentford goalkeeper made the save to deny the Mackems doubling their lead.
Ruiter was again called into action when Jamie Devitt was played in through a deflected long shot althogh most thought he was offside by about five yards but the linesman didn’t give it and Djilobodji and O’Shea assumed the flag had went up, leaving Ruiter to make a save with his chest and keep Sunderland in the driving seat.
Sunderland approached half time on the back foot and looking very uncomfortable especially when Robbin Ruiter was beaten when a hard and low cross wasn’t dealt with. It fell to Reggie Lambe who beat the keeper, but not the post as it rattled off the upright
The second half started how the first ended with the visitors on the back foot, and a tempting cross was dealt with by a Ruiter punch but Senegalese Papy Djilobodji clumsily foulded Bennett and the referee pointed to the spot. Cumbrians skipper Danny Grainger stepped up only for Ruiter to turn it out, but it fell perfectly for Grainger who tucked away the rebound and levelled it up at Brunton Park.
James Vaughan would come on for Sunderland and provided some much needed energy and fresh legs, the ex Bury hitman completely changed the game’s dymanic and ultimately it won the game for Grayson’s men. Centre half sub Lamine Kone bottled a shot before academy graduate Lynden Gooch put the visitors in front minutes later after being played in by Didier Ndong, the American curled home from outisde the area past Irishman Bonham to bag his first professional, competitive goal for the Black Cats.
Overall, an unconvincing win for Sunderland against a spirited Carlisle side that threw everything at Sunderland but just couldn’t finish it up and only lost to a quality goal. Jamie Devitt certainly tested Ruiter on his debut on more than one occasion. Simon Grayson’s men will be in the hat for the draw for round 3 at the rather unsavoury time of 4:15am.
Carlisle United: Bonham: 6, Grainger: 8, Parkes: 7, Liddle: 6, Ellis: 7, Lambe: 8, Jones: 6, Joyce: 7 (Hope ’85), Adams: 6 (Kennedy ’88), Devitt: 9 (Miller ’85), Bennett: 8
Substitutes: Hope: N/A, Kennedy: N/A, Miller: N/A
Sunderland: Ruiter: 8, Love: 8 (Kone ’65), Matthews: 4, Djilobodji: 4, O’Shea: 6, Oviedo: 7 (McGeady ’72), Ndong: 6, Gibson: 5, Gooch: 8, Khazri: 5, Asoro: 6 (Vaughan ’66)
Substitutes: Kone: 7, McGeady: 6, Vaughan: 7