Sunderland 2-1 Charlton: Lynden Gooch earns last-gasp win for Black Cats
New boss Jack Ross starts life at Stadium of Light with a victory as Sunderland come from behind in League One opener
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 04/08/18 7:52pm
Lynden Gooch scored a last-gasp winner as Sunderland began life in Sky Bet League One with a 2-1 win over Charlton at the Stadium of Light.
Thirty years have passed since the Black Cats competed in the third tier, and it looked like new boss Jack Ross would be getting off to the worst possible start when Lyle Taylor's early penalty put Charlton ahead.
But Sunderland fought back in the second half and 19-year-old Josh Maja levelled smartly with 25 minutes to go before Gooch headed home a winner with virtually the last action of the game.
Five of Jack Ross' new signings started for Sunderland. Luke O'Nien, Alim Ozturk, Glenn Loovens, Jon McLaughlin and Chris Maguire all featured for the Black Cats, while 16-year-old Bali Mumba also started.
Charlton's new signings Lyle Taylor and Darren Pratley both started, while Jake Forster-Caskey was ruled out for the entire season with a knee injury before the game.
There was plenty of optimism around the Stadium of Light before kick-off as the fans awaited the dawn of a new era, but it took just 10 minutes for the home side to find themselves behind.
Karl Ahearne-Grant's brilliant touch set him through on goal and Chris Maguire's rash challenge brought him over in the box just as the Addicks man was about to shoot. Taylor made no mistake from the spot as he found the top-right corner.
Sunderland: McLaughlin (7), Love (n/a), Loovens (7), Ozturk (7), Matthews (7), O'Nien (5), Mumba (6), Honeyman (6), Gooch (7), Maguire (7), Maja (7)
Subs: Oviedo (7), Sinclair (6), Molyneux (n/a)
Charlton: Phillips (6), Page (6), Bauer (6), Pearce (6), Solly (6), Marshall (7), Aribo (7), Pratley (6), Lapslie (6), Taylor (7), Grant (7)
Subs: Sarr (n/a)
Man of the match: Chris Maguire
Sunderland improved as the half went on and should have equalised on the stroke of half-time. In the second minute of stoppage time, Maguire's poor attempt from 25 yards somehow turned into the perfect through ball for Maja, but the striker hesitated, taking an extra touch that allowed Dillon Phillips to rush out and deny him.
Maja, however, wouldn't make that mistake again as he levelled the game after 65 minutes. There didn't seem to be much of a threat to Charlton as he picked up the ball in the corner of the area with his back to goal, but a sharp turn and shot evaded Phillips and snuck just inside the near post.
Sunderland ended the game stronger and finally the winner came in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Bryan Oviedo's ball into the box found the head of Gooch, who powered his effort into the top corner to send the home fans wild.
Man of the match - Chris Maguire
It was a difficult start to his Sunderland debut for Maguire as he gave away the early penalty, but he recovered well and provided a regular threat from the flank, as well as consistently threatening with his set-pieces.
Jack Ross: "I'm delighted to win the game, start with a win and I don't think there is a better way of winning it. There is a less stressful, easier way but that feeling, the euphoria you get as a club, with the supporters, and staff, it is enjoyable to do it in that manner.
"It was a very competitive game but the willingness to get the points. For the players to go right to the end was encouraging because we got better as the game went on."
Lee Bowyer: "At half-time we were happy, I thought we deserved to go in leading but unfortunately the game is over 90 minutes and we had to hang on at the end.
"I don't think we deserved to lose, it is a hard way to lose, in injury time as well, but the first goal should never have happened."
Sunderland travel to Luton next Saturday at 3pm in Sky Bet League One, while Charlton host Shrewsbury at the same time.