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Match Reports

Saville double secures Sunderland point for Millwall

Our take on events at the Stadium of Light...

18 November 2017

George Saville's double ensured The Lions drew 2-2 with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon.

In a sometimes bizarre and error-strewn encounter, Saville scored his duo between strikes from Lewis Grabban and Adam Matthews as the two sides played out a stalemate.

Millwall boss Neil Harris made three changes from the 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion last time out, with Shane Ferguson, Jake Cooper and Tom Elliott replacing the suspended Jed Wallace, Tony Craig and Steve Morison.

The home side started the brighter and could have taken the lead in the first few minutes, but John O'Shea was just unable to reach a cross when unmarked in the penalty area.

The Lions, however, picked up the pace shortly after that and went close through Conor McLaughlin and Ryan Tunnicliffe. Elliott also headed into the arms of Robbin Ruiter.

On 10 minutes, Jordan Archer was called into action for the first time as he tipped Aiden McGeady's effort behind for a corner-kick. From the resulting kick, however, The Black Cats took the lead as Grabban pounced on some slack defending to fire home from close-range.

With 17 minutes on the clock, The Lions got back in the game through Saville's free-kick, which squirmed under the body of Ruiter and into the net.

Incredibly, just three minutes later, Ruiter again let a seemingly routine Saville free-kick sail past him and into the net to give Millwall the lead.

As the boos rang out around the Stadium of Light, Sunderland rightly had a penalty appeal turned down after James Meredith perfectly executed a tackle on Duncan Watmore inside the penalty area. Seconds later at the other end, Elliott had a chance to extend Millwall's lead, but fired over when he had more time than he thought.

The Black Cats had another penalty shout turned down shortly before half-time as substitute Callum McManaman stumbled under pressure from Saville, whilst the Lions midfielder struck wide at the other end as he seeked his hat-trick goal.

In a game littered with goalkeeping errors, Sunderland equalised straight away in the second half as Matthews' cross was flapped at by Archer before falling into the net.

The home side had a goal ruled out on 52 minutes, whilst McLaughlin was forced to make a vital interception as The Black Cats upped the ante in search of a third.

With 72 minutes on the clock, Lee Gregory's shot on the turn looked destined for the back of the net, but Ruiter was well-placed to stick out a hand and block the ball. Ferguson also fired wide as The Lions looked to gain a foothold once more.

Five minutes from time, a cross rolled seemingly in slow motion across the Millwall box, but there was no Sunderland man there to tap home.

A frantic final period ensued, but with no further goals, the points were shared.

Sunderland: Ruiter, Oviedo, McNair, Cattermole, Williams (Honeyman 16'), Grabban, Watmore (McManaman 42'), O'Shea, McGeady, Matthews, Wilson (Browning 83'). Subs not used: Steele, Rodwell, Vaughan, Gibson.

Scorer: Grabban 12', Matthews 47'

Booking: Oviedo, Cattermole

Millwall: Archer, McLaughlin, Meredith, Hutchinson, Gregory (Onyedinma 73'), Ferguson, Tunnicliffe, Elliott (Morison 71'), O'Brien (Thompson 90+5'), Saville, Cooper. Subs not used: Martin, Craig, Romeo, Twardek.

Scorer: Saville 16', 20'

Referee: Tim Robinson

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