Gooch's screamer settles it for Sunderland as Dons slip a place
A sensational strike from Lynden Gooch secured the win for Sunderland over MK Dons on Saturday.
Despite the gulf in league position, the game was tightly contested throughout, though somehow the Black Cats had two cleared off the line early in the second half before Gooch's wonder-strike 11 minutes from time broke the deadlock and earned all three points. Russell Martin's side slip a place with results elsewhere, but remain three points away from the relegtion zone.
After originally naming an unchanged side from Tuesday night's defeat at Burton, Russell Martin was forced into a change prior to kick-off, with Alex Gilbey picking up an injury in the warm-up. He was replaced by David Kasumu.
And he made an early impression in the centre of the park with a crunching early tackle, earning himself a yellow card. The midfield battle was a fiesty one and it made for precious few chances in the opening exchanges. While Conor McGrandles and Rhys Healey both saw shots deflected wide, somehow Sunderland failed to score when Luke O'Nien's header back across goal could not be converted into the empty net.
But the game cruised into half-time, with the opening buzz wearing off, and both sides looking keen to go in at the break level.
The visitors should have been ahead five minutes into the second period when Charlie Wyke caused havoc in the Dons penalty area, evading Nicholls but saw two efforts cleared off the line, first Brittain blocking Wyke and then Williams turning L ynden Gooch's effort over the bar. Gooch would get his reward late in the day though.
Dons grew into the second half just as they did the first, and come great interplay saw them get into some great areas, but keeper Jon McLaughlin was barely tested with anything meaningful.
New signing Louis Thompson looked lively when he came on, buzzing around the midfield and breaking up play, while Healey had a lot of joy when he drifted out wide.
Sunderland though weren't really making Lee Nicholls work for his afternoon either. But step up Gooch with 11 minutes to go. Cutting inside onto his left boot, he launched an unstoppable strike into the top corner, leaving Nicholls with no chance, and earning his side all three points.
Referee: Ben Toner
Attendance: 13,327 (4,436)
MK Dons: Nicholls, Lewington, Walsh, Williams, Brittain, Houghton, McGrandles (Gladwin73 ), Kasumu (Thompson 64), Healey, Mason, Morris (Nombe 82)
Subs not used: Moore, Poole, Moore-Taylor, Cargill
Sunderland: J McLaughlin, Lynch, Willis, Ozturk, Power, Maguire, Wyke (Lafferty 77), Gooch, O'Nien, Dobson, Hume
Subs not used: Burge, C McLaughlin, McNulty, Flanagan, Watmore, Leadbitter
Booked: Kasumu, Dobson, Ozturk, Healey, Maguire