A battling display at Priesfield Stadium saw ten man Sunderland beat Gillingham away from home.

Elliot Embleton was shown a straight red card but they hung on thanks to goals from Aiden O'Brien and Tom Flanagan. 

Digital Sports Writer Matty Jones was watching the game...

Goals: Lloyd 25’ (scored from the penalty spot sending keeper Hoffman the wrong way), O’Brien (slid in at the back post to stab the ball home from Neil’s cross), Flanagan 54’ (headed home at the back post from Pritchard’s cross)

Bookings: Cirkin 43’ (pulling down Jackson as he ran down the right), Neil 84’ (sliding challenge on Kelman on the left)

Red card: Embleton 65’ (late sliding challenge with studs showing on Tucker)


Referee: Lee Swabey – Poor today. Should have booked Gillingham players while he was happy to dish out the cards for softer challenges from Sunderland.

Entertainment: ****

Sunderland XI:

7 Hoffman – Brilliant display. Produced a wonderful save tipping McKenzie’s header onto the post in the final few minutes.

7 Winchester – After a poor first half, he sprang to life in the second and kept the attack alive winning the ball back for the second goal.

7 Doyle – He showed once again that he can put his body on the line whilst being a great footballer.

7 Flanagan – Netted the winner in the end and kept out Gillingham when their backs are against the wall.

6 Cirkin – A steady game. He grew more into it as the second half went on.

7 Neil – Superb display in midfield. He’s such an brilliant operator and when they were starved of quality, he provided a lovely cross for O’Brien’s goal.

5 O’Nien – Not his best today. Gave away the penalty in the first half and didn’t show much else.

4 Embleton – A valuable lesson for the young midfielder. A mad rush to the head nearly cost his side but no doubt he’ll come back stronger for it.

6 O’Brien – Got the equaliser at the vital time in the game and is proving to be valuable in an injury stricken squad.

7 Pritchard – Showed plenty of class. He had a troublesome first half but provided another moment of quality crossing to Flanagan.

6 Stewart – A quiet day for the big striker but was only able to feed off scraps.


N/A Wright – 71’

N/A Harris – 90’

Subs not used: Burge, Hume, Sohna, Wearne, Younger

Gillingham (4-5-1): Cumming 6; Jackson 7 (Kelman 81’), Tucker 7, Ehmer 6 (Sithole 90+’), McKenzie 7; Bennett 6, Dempsey 6, O’Keefe 6, Lloyd 7, Carayol 7 (Akinde 61’); Oliver 6

Subs not used: Chapman, Adshead, Lee, Reeves

Man of the match: Dan Neil – looks so assured on the ball and is a brilliant technician. Showed character when they went down to ten men.