Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Gary Deegan, Ivan Toney (George Waring 79), Ryan McGivern, Junior Brown, Louis Dodds (Andy Mangan 73), Adam El-Abd (c), Abu Ogogo, Olly Lancashire, Joe Riley, Antoni Sarcevic ( Jim O'Brien 64)
Subs: Mark Halstead, Ian Black, Moha Choulay, AJ Leitch-Smith
Sunderland: Jordan Pickford, Patrick Van Aanholt (c), Papy Djilobodji, Jack Rodwell, Wahbi Khazri, Paddy McNair, Steven Pienaar (Duncan Watmore 61), Donald Love, Joel Asoro, Adnan Januzaj, Lynden Gooch
Subs: Max Stryjek, Ethan Robson, Tommy Robson, Rees Greenwood, George Honeyman, Josh Robson
Ref: J Simpson
Assistants: T Peart and P Marsen
Fourth Official: G Salisbury
Attendance: 13,979 (with 271 Salopians')
Micky Mellon spoke in his pre-match about the need to make changes to bring in players who are fresher and he keeps to his word with Abu Ogogo, Olly Lancashire, Louis Dodds and Antoni Sarcevic coming into the starting line-up.
The home side were putting the pressure on in the opening exchanges with Januzaj causing problems, he did well to find space on the edge of the box and won a foul when McGivern as adjudged to have fouled.
Town got their first corner of the game on 6 minutes and the deliver was good but it was cleared and Sunderland countered quickly, the ball was dropped in the Town half and Asoro got to it before Riley, he then drove towards goal but Deegan had got back but his challenge was adjudged to be a foul and he conceded a free-kick and picked up a booking.
The home side were seeing the better of the possession and were taking the game to Town but the visitors were doing the hard and defending needed to keep Sunderland out.
Town were starting to create more openings and when the ball came to Abu Ogogo midway in the Sunderland box he played it to Brown, he chipped the ball into the box and there was Dodds to flick a header in on goal but it lacked the power to trouble Pickford.
Town lost possession on the centre circle and Gooch looked to come away, he took it past Sarcevic who then tugged his shirt to hold him back and gave away the free-kick and picked up a booking for his troubles.
Town were prodding and probing looking to get forward when they could, good play saw the visitors win back possession and the ball was played infield for Riley to run onto, he kept his run going and pushed down the right, he tried to cross the ball for Toney but it just had a little too much on it and Sunderland cleared.
Sunderland's best chance of the half came a few minutes before the half-time break, it came after El-Abd lost possession and this allowed Pienaar to come forward with the ball, he continued his run to the edge of the box before hitting a shot in on goal but it flew just over the bar.
And minutes later they had a better chance after good pressure from Sunderland around the Town box saw a neat one two put Van Aanholt in on goal with only Leutwiler to beat, but the Town keeper was out quickly and bravely dived at Van Aanholt's feet to save and El-Abd was there to clear.
Town had a good period of pressure after the restart and good work from Toney saw Town put the pressure on, he played a ball for Riley to run onto and then did well to win it back and set Dodds up for a chance which was blocked for a corner.
Moments later Town continued their positive play with Riley picking the ball up and coming infield, he had options but continued his run in on goal and was bundled off the ball by Gooch on the edge of the box and he picked up a booking and gave Town the free-kick. It was Riley who took the free-kick and he drilled in a shot that beat the wall but it was then hooked away.
Sunderland had a great chance just before the hour mark when the ball found Asoro 10 yards from goal, he got a good shot in on goal but Leutwiler was equal to it spreading himself wide to pull off an important block to deny the home side.
Town had a great chance on 64 minutes when the ball was put in behind the Sunderland defence for Toney, he got goalside of the defence and then fired a shot across goal that looked goal bound until Pickford pulled off a great save to deny Toney.
Micky Mellon then made his first change of the evening bringing Jim O'Brien on to replace Antoni Sarcevic.
Town nearly played themselves into danger after Deegan tried to play the ball back to Leutwiler but failed to see Asoro lurking and played the Sunderland forward in, but luckily El-Abd managed to get back and get enough to nick the ball away and then Leutwiler was there to clear the danger.
With just over 15 minutes of the half remaining Micky Mellon made his second change with Louis Dodds making way to allow Andy Mangan to come into the action.
Sunderland has a free-kick but the Town wall did it's job and the ball canned downfield to find Toney, he turned and held up play before played it down the right for Mangan to run onto, he got into good space and then tried to cross to the far post to set-up O'Brien but Watmore had tracked back and was there for an important block.
It was the home side who grabbed the first goal with 6 minutes of the game remaining, the ball found Januzaj in space in the Town box and he fired in a shot that flew past the dive of Leutwiler to give the Town keeper no chance.
Andy Mangan did well to twist and turn and play the ball to Brown, he get in behind the Sunderland defence and then drove the ball into the box, Waring was there and turned to get a header in from close range but it was wide of the target.