Sunderland 1-1 Derby Player Ratings: centre-backs impress

Lewis Grabban levels from the spot – bbc.co.uk

Sunderland and Derby kick-started the 17/18 Championship season with a 1-1 draw – but how did each player fare? Here’s our ratings…

Sunderland

Jason Steele – His confidence looked damaged by Celtic’s pre-season mauling, but recovered at the death to deny Nugent from close-range. 5

Billy Jones – excelled in the defensive third, but questionable distribution – and a horribly sliced shot that turned into a pass – suggests that’s where his abilities end. 4
Lamine Kone – had a couple of shaky moments early on and was arguably at fault for Derby’s goal. Steadily grew in confidence. 6
Tyias Browning – made some crucial last-ditch interventions and bailed Steele out of jail on one occasion at 1-0. On this evidence, he has improved since his time at Preston. 9
Brendan Galloway – poor defensive positioning was exposed on occasions by Russell, as seen for the goal. Made good runs though and could have been used more often in an attacking sense. 5

George Honeyman – his pace and energy made him an asset in both defensive and attacking phases of play, the latter including an early breakaway run. Tired slightly in the latter stages. 7
Lee Cattermole – stole the ball in good areas on a couple of occasions, one to win a free-kick, another to lay off Grabban to hit the woodwork. Battled well. 7
Didier N’Dong –His first thought was normally to protect the centre-backs, which he did well. In the second half though, this perhaps saw Sunderland cede territory in central areas. 5
Aiden McGeady – Showed flashes of what he’s capable of. His most creative moments came when Galloway stretched the play, giving him more space. 6

Lewis Grabban – chased lost causes and helped attain territory in the first half, even when the midfield was a long way behind him. Lack of pace caught up with him after the break but scored the equalizer and hit the post. 6
James Vaughan – won a lot of aerial balls in the first half to allow others to have shots. Needed a pair of fresh legs close to him after the re-start. 5

Derby

Scott Carson – arguably could have done more to save Vaughan’s penalty, but his fine reflex save from Cattermole boosts his score. 7

Andre Wisdom – beaten by Galloway on occasion, lost possession in a dangerous area once. Played safe passes in the opposing half but never threatened. 4
Richard Keogh – Won most aerial duels and produced a commanding second half display. 9
Curtis Davies – Generally beat Grabban to the ball and did not allow any space in behind. 8
Craig Forsyth – Arguably still at Derby based on his 13/14 form. Did not have the pace to contain Honeyman or contribute going forward. 3

Jacob Butterfield – gave away the penalty with a daft hand ball and couldn’t get into the game at all. 3
Tom Huddlestone – retained possession, good pass to Russell for the goal. Made one late intervention to cut out Galloway’s cross in a positive debut. 7
Bradley Johnson – scoring Russell’s cut-back was his only real contribution. Did not impose himself to the extent his power suggests he should. 4

Johnny Russell – a couple of fleeting breakaways, one of which creating the early opener. Derby needed to get him on the ball more often. 6
Chris Martin – won a couple of free-kicks in his own half but suffered from a lack of support before the break. More effective when Vydra came on, despite that miss one-on-one. 4
Andreas Weimann – one or two aimless passes encapsulated his wasteful use of the ball. Unsurprisingly the first man Rowett took off. 2

Matej Vydra (on 66) – looked lively and set up one of the best chances of the game. Surely deserves to start the Wolves game. 8
David Nugent (on 78) – perhaps should have won it in added time, only to be thwarted from close-range by Steele. 6
Craig Bryson (on 90)