Sunderland dumped out of EFL Trophy after humiliating defeat at Scunthorpe United
Sunderland have been dumped out of the leasing.com trophy after being outplayed by struggling League Two side Scunthorpe.
The Black Cats were reduced to ten men early in the second half and were picked apart in an embarrassing 3-0 defeat.
Scunthorpe winger Abo Eisa tormented a strong Sunderland side, who have now won just twice in eight games under Phil Parkinson.
After another frustrating afternoon against Gillingham on Saturday, Parkinson had signaled his intent by naming a full-strength side, knowing that only a win inside 90 minutes would be enough to seal progression to the knockout stages.
His side started well, and were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Luke O’Nien, back in the full-back position, surged past Junior Brown at the byline. Brown challenged late and brought O’Nien down, but after exchanging glances with his linesman, the referee pointed for a goal kick.
Sunderland looked in control, Scunthorpe limited to a snapshot from lively winger Alex Gilliead after a set piece dropped to him near the edge of the area.
Parkinson’s side were enjoying the better of the play and should have taken the lead 20 minutes in, Max Power spotting an opportunity and playong a clever, quick free kick into the box.
Scunthorpe were caught out, goalkeeper Jake Eastwood caught in an awful position as Duncan Watmore gathered.
The forward looked certain to score but dinked his effort onto the roof of the net.
Scunthorpe, struggling at the bottom of League Two, began to settle into the game and with Gilliead impressing, began to offer a threat on the break.
They came close after a quick break down that right flank, Matthew Lund shavign the crossbar with a first-time effort after being teed up on the edge of the area. O’Nien had to do well to get down and block from Abo Eisa on the other flank shortly after.
That marked the beginning of a good spell of pressure from Paul Hurst’s embattled side, who had an excellent chance when they again broke down the right half an hour in, James Perch released inside the area by a fine chipped pass, the defender thumping his effort across goal when had he hit the target, he almost certainly would have scored.
Just before the break they came even closer, Lee Novak escaping the attentions of Joel Lynch on the halfway line and springing Gilliead clear.
His effort was well saved by Lee Burge at his near psot and from the resulting corner, O’Nien did superbly too head Novak’s goalbound header off the line.
Parkinson had much to ponder at the break and was forced into a change, with Lynch replaced at the heart of defence by Laurens De Bock. De Bock had initially been ready to come on in the opening moments of the game, the Welsh centre-back nursing a knock through to the break before being withdrawn.
The second half started in end-to-end fashion, Sunderland forging their first shot on target when Max Power released Marc McNulty with a good ball over the top, Eastwood doing well to get off his line and block the shot.
They were almost punished at the other end soon after when Dobson failed to gather a long ball, Eisa getting clear but firing wide.
Sunderland looked more dangerous in attack and came close when Aiden McGeady, peripheral in the first half, poucned on a loose pass and drove towards goal, Scunthorpe just clearing the danger with McNulty looming to try and convert the pass inside.
Though their defence had started to look uncertain, the home side remained a threat, particularly down the left where Eisa was finding plenty of space.
It was that which forced the game’s crucial moment, Novak releasing the winger with a superb pass, O’Nien caught out high up the pitch.
He raced and back and though Burge saved Eisa’s tame effort, the referee judged O’Nien to have brought him down in the build-up. O’Nien was shown red, and Novak sent Burge the wrong way with an excellent penalty.
It left the Black Cats needing two goals with ten men to progress and Scunthorpe only grew in confidence.
They came close to doubling their advantage with ten minutes to play when Eisa coasted into the box on the ball, Burge doing superbly to block his effort with an outstretched leg.
Eisa got the goal his play deserved when Sunderland failed to deal with a corner in the closing minutes, the winger firing past Burge unchallenged on the turn.
A humiliating defeat was underlined when Novak rose to meet a cross from the left, heading home a deserved third goal.
Sunderland XI: Burge; O’Nien, Willis, Lynch (De Bock, 45), Hume; Leadbitter, Dobson, Power; Watmore (Maguire, 74), McGeady, McNulty
Subs: Patterson, McGeouch, Kimpioka, Mumba, Taylor
Scunthorpe United XI: Eastwood; Perch, Clarke, Lund, Novak, Gilliead (Pugh, 90), McArdle, Brown, Eisa, Bedeau, McAtee (van Veen, 57)
Subs: Watson, Butler, Colclough, Dales, Butroid
Bookings: Willis, 57 Power, 72
Red card: O’Nien, 66