Bury 0-1 Sunderland Player Ratings: Whitmore impresses

Honeyman nets the winner – bbc.co.uk

George Honeyman netted his first goal for Sunderland, helping the Black Cats through to the second round of the EFL Cup with a 1-0 win at Bury – but how did players on both teams fare? Here’s our ratings.

Bury

Joe Murphy – made an excellent save from McGeady early on and used his experience to good effect. 7

Adam Thompson – one or two good passes into the opposing half and competed reasonably well defensively, but was taken off with just over half an hour to go. 6
Tom Aldred – won a lot of aerial balls in a good performance, let down only by one error at the start of the second half. 7
Alex Whitmore – headed away everything that came his way and always looked assured. An impressive performance for a 21-year-old who has never played at League One level before, let alone against experienced Championship professionals. 8

Craig Jones – plenty of heart but not much else. Left gaps in behind early on and was a tad predictable in his attacking play, as well as his long throws. 3
Stephen Dawson – put himself about in his 12 minutes on the field before picking up a nasty injury. Thankfully he hasn’t had to go to hospital. 5
Callum Reilly – chased the ball a lot but at times his energy was used without obvious tactical direction. His passing wasn’t great. 4
Tsun Dai – tidy in possession but could have been more aggressive off the ball, especially in the defensive third. 5
Greg Leigh – showed raw energy and didn’t shy away from the combative side of the game. Positioning for the goal could be questioned. 6

Nicky Ajose – in this type of match, Bury needed a striker capable of closing down all game and holding the ball up for long enough for the midfield to get involved – that’s not Ajose’s game. 2
Harry Bunn – showed flashes of what he can do early on and tried to put pressure on defenders, but wasn’t given the necessary support to have a sustained influence. 5

Andrew Tutte (on 12) – some decent touches but lacked the aggression to compete with Sunderland’s midfield. Not the ideal replacement for Dawson. 4
Zeli Ismail (on 59) – a few brief spurts of pace, but not much technical substance behind them. 5
Jermaine Beckford (on 72) – though he’s of a bigger build than Ajose, he was too similar in style to be the man Bury required. 4

Sunderland

Jason Steele – kept a clean sheet but only faced one shot on target all evening. Distribution could have been better too. 5

Adam Matthews – one or two bursts of pace but otherwise struggled to get into the game and had a tough time against Bunn and Leigh early on. 4
John O’Shea – enjoyed a solid first half and headed a lot of balls away in the latter stages. 9
Tyias Browning – after a shaky start, he recovered quickly. More comfortable than O’Shea when drawn out into wide areas due to his pace. 7
Brendan Galloway – one or two defensive slips but overlapped well to support McGeady, as he did on Friday. More disciplined in the second half. 6

Darron Gibson – lacked the mobility to make third man runs, but sprayed the ball around nicely and gave Sunderland a firm platform. 6
Didier Ndong – One cannot fault his work rate and discipline. Given the nature of the match though he might have imposed himself further up the pitch, especially in the first half. 5

George Honeyman – showed plenty of graft with his pressing and tracking back before scoring the winner in the second half. Forward passing could have been better. 6
Wahbi Khazri – flashes of tidy link-up play with McGeady, but drifted out of the game for too long. His night will be chiefly remembered for that comical slip when one-on-one. 4
Aiden McGeady – looked a threat early on, forcing a save from Murphy and was the Black Cats’ most inventive player in the first half. 6

Lewis Grabban – did not press from the front with the required pace and intensity. His inclination to drop deep suggests he needs a partner. 3

James Vaughan (on 45) – provided more of a focal point than Grabban but his shooting left a little to be desired. 5
Joel Asoro (on 59) – injected some pace into the away side’s play and could have grabbed himself a goal. 7
Lynden Gooch (on 77) – didn’t have time to influence proceedings. 5