Sunderland 3-2 Shrewsbury Town match report as Nathan Broadhead scores another dramatic late winner

Nathan Broadhead scored another dramatic injury-time winner as Sunderland beat Shrewsbury Town to tighten their grip on a play-off place. The Black Cats looked in total control when goals from Elliot Embleton and then Broadhead put them 2-0 up with less than 15 minutes gone at the Stadium of Light.

But they allowed Shrewsbury back into the game early in the second half, with Josh Vela and ex-Black Cat Tom Flanagan hauling the visitors level before the hour mark. Ross Stewart hit the woodwork and later brought a fine save out of Shrews’ keeper Marko Marosi.

It looked like Sunderland would run out of time, until on-loan Everton man Broadhead – who had scored a 95th minute winner against Gillingham in the last home game – headed home in the 92nd minute. That goal marked the first time since August that Shrewsbury had conceded three times in a league game, and it also meant Sunderland notched a third successive victory since September, and extended their unbeaten run to nine games.

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Sunderland remain sixth in the table and may drop out of the play-off places on goal difference tomorrow if Sheffield Wednesday win at MK Dons tomorrow. But, crucially, Sunderland are level on points with Wycombe and are just two points behind Monday’s opponents Plymouth, and still have a game in hand of both.

Alex Neil made two changes to the side that won at Oxford last Saturday, with Embleton and Luke O’Nien replacing Corry Evans and Patrick Roberts. Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill made one change, in his case to the side that drew 1-1 at home to Ipswich Town last weekend, with Shaun Whalley coming in for Josh Daniels.

Sunderland made a blistering start, racing into a two-goal lead inside the first quarter-of-an-hour. In only the fourth minute, a handball by Flanagan gave his old side a free-kick inside the D and while Broadhead drove his set-piece into the wall, the ball rebounded to Embleton 20 yards out and he hit a sweet, first-time , left-footed shot which flew past the keeper into the top right-hand corner.

Flanagan had a couple of half-chances, missing the target with one and drawing a routine save from Anthony Patterson with the other. But Sunderland doubled their lead on 13 minutes, as the Black Cats advanced down the right before the ball was played by Embleton infield to Dennis Cirkin and his low shot from range was beaten away by goalkeeper Marosi but straight to Broadhead just inside the box and he rifled a low first-time shot into the bottom left-hand corner.

Lynden Gooch curled a shot wide of the left-hand upright from inside the box just before the half-hour, but Sunderland had allowed the tempo of the game to drop. And as half-time approached, Shrewsbury began to come into the game with Ryan Bowman finding the net only to be denied – correctly – by an offside flag, while a few minutes later the same player also bent a shot narrowly wide of the post.

The second half continued where the first had left off, with Sunderland passive while Shrewsbury worked to find a route back into the game. Their moment came five minutes after the restart, when George Nurse collected the ball on the left side of the box and he squared for Vela on the edge of the area in a central position, and he placed his shot beyond Patterson into the bottom right- hand corner.

Sunderland did not heed the warning, and the Shrews leveled in 58 minutes. Luke Leahy’s corner from the left was headed goalwards by Matthew Pennington but his effort from him was blocked, and it came to Flanagan who volleyed home with Patterson getting a touch to the ball but unable to keep it out.

Carl Winchester saw a shot deflected over the bar, and with 20 minutes left Broadhead was denied by Marosi, with the loose ball falling to Stewart whose shot crashed off the crossbar. Stewart had another excellent chance in the final five minutes when he got in front of his marker to steer Roberts’ pass goalwards, but Marosi got down to his right to make a brilliant stop.

Sunderland became increasingly desperate in the dying minutes and O’Nien was booked for diving inside the penalty area, claiming he had been fouled by Leahy. But they finally got their reward in the 92nd minute, when Jack Clarke’s cross found Broadhead inside the box and he got up above Marosi to glance the ball into the empty net for the winning goal.

How they lined up

Sunderlands: Patterson, Winchester, Wright, Cirkin, Gooch (Roberts 78), Matete (Neil 86), O’Nien, Embleton (Evans 62), Clarke, Broadhead, Stewart. Subs not used: Burge, Batth, Xhemajli, Hume

booked: Clarke, O’Nien

Shrewsburytown: Marosi, Pennington, Flanagan, Leahy, Whalley (Bloxham 88), Vela, Fornah, Bennett (Daniels 37), Nurse, Bowman, Udoh (Pierre 79). Subs not used: Burgoyne, Caton, Craig, Janneh

booked: Bennett, Bowman, Vela

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

attendance: 32,896

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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