Sunderland booked their place in the last 16 of the EFL Trophy on Tuesday evening as Lee Johnson secured his first win as the Black Cats’ new boss, defeating League Two Oldham Athletic 2-1 on their own patch.
The home side did take the lead inside 13 minutes with Bobby Grant rifling past academy shot-stopper Anthony Patterson before Chris Maguire levelled things on the half-hour mark.
Fellow first-team regular Josh Scowen then secured the victory in the second half, heading home from a ball in from Grant Leadbitter.
Although despite the victory, not all of Johnson’s senior stars were at the races at Boundary Park – none more so than Conor McLaughlin, who was especially poor.
Per SofaScore, McLaughlin failed to win a single duel from three attempts, lost possession nine times, and also didn’t register a single tackle or block either, meaning he was lightweight and wasteful.
The former Fleetwood and Millwall defender even failed to deliver an accurate cross throughout the 90 minutes, proving to be ineffective in attack. It’s no wonder Will Grigg and then Charlie Wyke had very little to feed off, and as such, neither got themselves on the scoresheet.
RokerReport graded Bailey Wright a five out of ten, one rating below that of McLaughlin, but it was the right-back who looked more suspect at times.
Johnson isn’t blessed with options in the full-back position and the late injury to Dion Sanderson will have hardly helped either, so the 39-year-old should quite rightly be furious with what he saw.
Whilst it is still early days, the veteran badly let his new manager down and will need to improve when the Black Cats face second-placed Lincoln City at Sincil Bank on Saturday afternoon.
AND in other news, Lee Johnson dealt first blow as Sunderland boss as key man faces month out…