Joe Edwards scored his fifth goal of the season to give Plymouth Argyle their first away win in the league against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The Pilgrims took an early lead when Adam Lewis marked his first start for the club with a near-post finish after a low cross from Conor Grant.
It took until early in the second half for the hosts to reply on a very soggy pitch. Former Argyle player Callum McFadzean delivered a whipped cross which was flicked home by Aiden O’Brien to level the scores.
But the away side replied less than five minutes later when Edwards and Luke Jephcott linked up on the right side before the captain curled a left-footed shot into the top corner to give them all three points.
The result sees Argyle move up to 11th in the table, three points and two places behind their opponents Sunderland who have two games in hand.
It was the visitors who started the brightest of the two teams and in the 10th minute, they got the reward for attempting to play their expansive style of football in tough conditions.
Edwards, Jephcott, Danny Mayor, and Conor Grant were all involved in a flowing move down the right side. Mayor recycled the ball to Grant who had the composure and accuracy to fizz a low cross onto the foot of Lewis who tapped home.
As expected Sunderland responded with attacking intent and their greatest opportunity to equalise in the first half came after 22 minutes. O’Brien chipped a through ball to Aiden McGeady who was one on one with the goalkeeper. But the Republic of Ireland international saw his effort well saved by Michael Cooper.
The rest of the half saw the hosts dominate 57% of the possession but they failed to break down a vigilant Argyle backline. There were faint calls for a penalty late in the first half when hat trick hero at the weekend Charlie Wyke collided with Jerome Opoku in the area, but referee Rob Lewis thought otherwise.
After the break the onslaught of the rain stopped but the same could not be said for the Black Cats who roared themselves back into the game in the 50th minute.
The hosts worked the ball wide to Mcfadzean who delivered a delicious inch-perfect cross onto the head of O’Brien who delicately flicked it into the far corner beyond the reach of Cooper.
The sides weren’t level for long however as in the 55th minute captain Edwards led by example to put the Argyle back in the lead with the goal of the game.
Starting with a throw in the right-hand corner he linked up well with Jephcott whilst surrounded by white and red shirts. Edwards had the pace and confidence to drive into the area and curl a left-footed shot past Lee Burge and into the top corner.
— Plymouth Argyle FC (@Only1Argyle) January 19, 2021
The Pilgrims led once again and hopes of a first win away from home in the league of the season were rising. But the Devon side were forced to work hard for their victory as Sunderland played more direct in search of an equaliser.
The nearest they came was a long shot from Jack Diamond who’s fierce drive bounced just in front of Cooper but was well held by the young keeper in the 77th minute.
But despite the pressure, the hosts couldn’t find a second goal as Argyle weathered the Sunderland storm (the team and the weather) to secure a vital three points. A perfect result ahead of an FA Cup tie visit to Premier League Sheffield United in their next fixture.