SUNDERLAND were held to a 1-1 draw by National League North side York City on a sunny evening at the LNER Community Stadium.

It was a story of two halves for the Black Cats against Steve Watson’s side.

Lynden Gooch was the first to test the fingertips of York City keeper Ryan Whitley who palmed away his low curling shot. Aiden McGeady was next in the queue to have a go when he made a trademark jinking run from the left onto his right foot before his curling effort was deflected wide.

Corry Evans had the chance to net for the first time in Sunderland colours when a defensive mix up allowed Ross Stewart to tee him up from eight yards but he was brilliantly denied by Whitley.

Gooch had to be replaced by Jack Diamond after 25 minutes because of a knock but it looked like it wasn’t anything more than a precautionary move.

Sunderland were keeping possession and knocking the ball around really well and it showed with some brilliant build up play for the first goal.

Elliot Embleton played a lovely reverse pass in behind the defence for McGeady who sidestepped his man and put it on a plate for Dan Neil who stroked home from around 10 yards. A goal that was very easy on the eye.

Sunderland controlled the possession for the rest of the half with a handful of Black Cats fans providing the entertainment in the game with some chanting to the tune of ‘Whole Again’ by Atomic Kitten. I think it’s too soon to be reminded of the Euros.

It didn’t take long for York City to find a way back into the game shortly after the restart. Scott Barrow’s whipped free-kick from the right was glanced onto the post to send Lee Burge clutching at thin air. After a few touches in the area, the ball sat up nicely for Kurt Willoughby who gratefully gobbled up the chance and lashed home from close range.

Barrow is known for having a wand of a left foot and he was at it again with a speculative 35-yard testing Burge with a long range strike but the Sunderland keeper was equal to the task.

Stewart had the chance to put Sunderland back in front almost immediately when Embleton slipped him in behind the defence but his curling shot was some distance off target.

Lee Johnson rang in a triple change bringing on Kenton Richardson, Josh Hawkes and Aiden O’Brien to see what influence they could have on the game.

The Black Cats almost immediately reaped the benefits as a breakaway moved set up McGeady just inside the box who’s low effort was saved onto the post by keeper Whitley.

Sunderland had their chances but give York their due credit, they are a hard working side who managed to hold their own and prevent Sunderland from gaining more of a foothold in the game.

After a period of frustration for the Black Cats after being shut out for long period of the second half, they were handed the chance to put themselves back in front four minutes from time when a well worked one-two between Benji Kimpioka and Aiden O’Brien carved out space in the box and Kimpioka was brought down by the keeper.

The referee pointed to the spot but the Swedish winger couldn’t convert as Whitley dived low down to his right to deny him from 12 yards.

That proved to be the final action of the evening as it finished all level at the LNER Community Stadium.

Sunderland starting XI vs York City: Lee Burge; Oliver Younger, Callum Doyle (Kenton Richardson 60’), Tom Flanagan, Tyrese Dyce (Nathan Newell 80’); Aiden McGeady (Benji Kimpioka 80’), Dan Neil, Elliot Embleton, Corry Evans (Josh Hawkes 60’), Lynden Gooch (Jack Diamond 25’); Ross Stewart (Aiden O’Brien 60’)

Man of the match: Elliot Embleton