MATCH REPORT | Sunderland 0 Charlton 1

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Jayden Stockley’s header was the difference as Johnnie Jackson’s Addicks edged a highly competitive encounter at Sunderland on Saturday afternoon.

The Caretaker Manager made five changes from the midweek reverse against Accrington Stanley, handing starts to Adam Matthews, Ben Purrington, George Dobson, Elliot Lee and Conor Washington.

The hosts started sprightly on Wearside, forcing Craig MacGillivray into two smart stops in as many minutes with an early flurry of chances.

First, the Scotsman thwarted Dennis Cirkin’s effort after the left-back had weaved his way into the Addicks’ box, before foiling Aiden O’Brien, who had latched onto Luke O’Nien’s long ball forward.

Thorben Hoffmann was then called into action, denying Sam Lavelle’s header at his near post after the defender had risen highest to meet Lee’s floated free-kick.

The Addicks continued to probe thereafter, enjoying a series of forays forward as the ever-threatening Jonathan Leko asked questions of the Black Cats’ defence.

The Birmingham City loanee saw his dangerous centre headed clear by Callum Doyle, before spearheading another Addicks attack just four minutes later. 

Having received the ball on the left flank, Leko found Washington, who, in turn, teed up Lee in a promising position, but Doyle was again on hand to avert the danger.

Jackson was forced into a change just after the half-hour mark, replacing the injured Lavelle with club captain Jason Pearce.

Aiden McGeady’s corner was then flicked on by O’Nien into the path of Ross Stewart at the far post, but the forward saw his volleyed effort repelled by MacGillivray.

The second period continued in the same manner as the first with play oscillating between the two boxes as both sides sought the opener, with Leko’s fizzing centre finding the returning Purrington, but the left-back could only send the ball back across the goal line.

MacGillivray then gathered O’Nien’s nodded effort after the midfielder met Alex Pritchard’s outswinging corner.

Moments later, the Black Cats were inches away from breaking the deadlock, Pritchard pulling back for Cirkin, whose left-footed effort cannoned off the inside of MacGillivray’s right upright.

A constant thorn in the hosts’ defence, Leko showed dazzling feet to beat Cirkin before crossing for Stockley, who laid off for Lee, though the Luton Town loanee saw his shot blocked by a succession of scrambling Sunderland defenders.

The Addicks took the lead soon after, Stockley nodding Leko’s centre past Hoffmann, despite O’Nien’s best efforts to handle the ball on the line.

Seeking parity, the hosts sprung forward in numbers as the game wore on, Stewart meeting Carl Winchester’s centre but seeing his effort blocked by a warrior-like Pearce.

A disciplined Addicks side were not to be breached, however, surviving the Sunderland onslaught to triumph on Wearside.

Sunderland: Hoffmann; Winchester, Flanagan, Doyle, Cirkin; O’Nien, Neil (Evans 80); O’Brien (Gooch 70), Pritchard (Dajaku 70), McGeady (c); Stewart

Subs (not used): Burge, Alves, Wright, Hume

Booked: Flanagan 67 (dissent), Evans 90 (foul on Famewo)

Charlton: MacGillivray; Matthews, Lavelle (Pearce 31), Famewo, Purrington; Leko (Jaiyesimi 90+1), Dobson, Gilbey, Lee (Clare 80); Stockley (c), Washington

Subs (not used): Henderson, Watson, Blackett-Taylor, Davison

Goal: Stockley 66

Booked: Dobson 44 (foul on Pritchard), Purrington 84 (time wasting)

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 31,883 (1,000 from Charlton)

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