AC­CRING­TON STAN­LEY............................................... 1 Rain on Cats’ pa­rade still proves a point

Sunday Sun - - Football -

SUN­DER­LAND’S game at Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley was aban­doned amid mon­soon con­di­tions with the scores locked at 1-1 and with less than 20 min­utes to play.

Chris Maguire had given the Black Cats the lead just af­ter the hour but the home side had lev­elled soon af­ter through sub­sti­tute Con­nor Hall, be­fore ref­eree Oliver Lang­ford aban­doned the game min­utes later as the rain poured down, mean­ing the sides will have to do it all again.

Heavy rain in Lan­cashire overnight and on the day of the game saw Lang­ford make three pitch in­spec­tions be­fore giv­ing the go-ahead to start the match as the weather eased, which meant the crowd of more than 5,200 – which was a record for the Crown Ground, and which in­cluded 2,600 Sun­der­land fans – did at least get to see some foot­ball.

But con­di­tions wors- wors nif­i­cantly mid­way through the sec­ond pe­riod and af­ter talk­ing to man­agers Jack Ross and Jon Col­man on the touch­line, he or­dered the play­ers off the p i t c h i n ened sig- sig the 73rd minute out of concern for their safety.

Af­ter mak­ing whole­sale changes to the side for the mid­week Check­a­trade Tro­phy game against Notts County, Jack Ross re­verted to a start­ing XI re­sem­bling that he fielded in the FA Cup at Wal­sall last week­end.

There were two changes to the side that be­gan at the Bescot Sta­dium, how­ever, with Chris Maguire – who pulled out of that game af­ter pick­ing up an in­jury in the warm-up – and skip­per Ge­orge Honey­man re­turn­ing to the team. They took the places of Bryan Oviedo and Luke O’Nien.

Ac­cring­ton boss Col­man also made changes for the Check­a­trade Tro­phy but named a stronger line-up this af­ter­noon.

Of­frande Zan­zala, Nick An­der­ton, and Ross Sykes came into the side, in place of Michael Ihiekwe, Ben Richards-Ever­ton, and Sea­mus Con­neely.

The con­di­tions made it a strug­gle for both sides, with on-off rain fall­ing on the al­ready sod­den pitch, which meant there was lit­tle qual­ity footb foot­ball on show and clear-cut chances we were hard to come by. Maguire won a free-kick f on the left which he drove in into the wall, and the ball can­noned into the path of Max Power but his first­first-time ef­fort went wide.

Ai­den McGeady blaste blasted a good chance over the bar mid­way midw through the half af­ter he had cont con­trolled Josh Maja’s right-wing cro cross. Jor­dan Clark fi fizzed a low shot across goa goal and wide of the left-hand post on the half-hour, and to­wards the end of the first pe­riod both Clark and Sam Fin­ley sent ef­forts over the bar from out­side the box.

And it was not until the 44th minute that the game saw its first shot on tar­get, with on-loan Mid­dles­brough man Con­nor Ri­p­ley get­ting down at the foot of his near post to save a low shot from Oviedo – who had re­placed the in­jured Adam Matthews in­side the first 20 min­utes – from out­side the box on the right.

Sun­der­land took the lead in the 63rd minute when Fin­ley gave his goal­keeper what was, in these con­di­tions, an awk­ward back­pass to deal with, Ri­p­ley con­trolled it but Maguire charged down his at­tempted clear­ance and the ball rolled into the empty net.

Soon af­ter that, the heav­ens opened and mis­takes be­gan to creep in, play­ing a part in the buildup to the equaliser.

The bounce of the ball beat Jack Bald­win as he tried with­out suc­cess to half-vol­ley a clear­ance in an almighty goal­mouth scram­ble, and Hall forced the ball home from close range.

And the play­ers strug­gled on for an­other few min­utes be­fore Lang­ford called pro­ceed­ings to a halt.

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