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Sunderland 2 Stanley 2

15 February 2019

Stanley scored their first League One goals of 2019 but had to settle for a point at Sunderland after taking a two-goal lead.

A Billy Kee penalty in the first half set the Reds on their way and Paul Smyth doubled their advantage on 52 minutes with his first Stanley goal.

But two goals in seven minutes from George Honeyman and Aiden McGeady got the Black Cats back on level terms in front of the Sky TV cameras and 28,937 fans – 661 Stanley supporters -  in the Stadium of Light.

Stanley were on the front foot early on with Kee not far off in the opening stages, Ross Sykes heading over and the pace of Smyth causing problems.

McGeady fired just wide for Sunderland while the home side wasted a gilt-edged chance on 12 minutes when Will Grigg got the ball unmarked in the area but he couldn't find the target.

Stanley took the lead on 30 minutes after they were awarded a penalty when Smyth was brought down in the area by Honeyman. Striker Kee scored his 11th goal of the season and celebrated the Reds' first league goal in 2019.

It was Stanley who were on the hunt for a second as the Black Cats struggled to contain them. Smyth used his pace to get ahead of the Sunderland defence on 43 minutes and was one-on-one with Jon McLaughlin but the keeper denied him as the Reds went into the interval 1-0 up.

A sweeping move by Sunderland almost led to an equaliser on 51 minutes but the sliding Charlie Wyke fired wide.

And Stanley doubled their advantage a minute later when unmarked Smyth headed home Sean McConville's ball in from the left from around six yards out – a first Stanley goal for the QPR loanee.

Sunderland equalised on 55 minutes when sub Chris Maguire's cross caused problems, Grigg got a touch and Honeyman hit the ball past Jonny Maxted.

Sunderland hunted for an equaliser and Maxted did well to hold onto a Lynden Gooch's strike.

The leveller came on 62 minutes when Sunderland found space around the Stanley area, the ball was played back to McGeady who stroked the ball home.

Mark Hughes cleared a Maguire free kick off the line while Sykes and Hughes both blocked goalbound strikes from Grigg as Sunderland piled on the pressure.

Stanley still had chances with Kee heading into McLaughlin's arms while both sides made substitutions as they looked for a winner.

Grigg fired over while Maxted superbly denied sub Max Power and Sunderland had the ball in the back of the net on 90 minutes but it was off-side as the points were shared.

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