CARLISLE striker Lewis Alessandra got the Blues’ only goal in a 3-1 defeat at the Stadium of Light.

United led the League One outfit for more than an hour, before a late flurry of goals for the Black Cats sealed the win.

The first goal of the match came six minutes after half-time, when new signing Gime Touré fought off pressure, defender Jon Mellish’s touch split open the Sunderland defence and Alessandra’s shot skipped off the greasy surface, leaving keeper Remi Matthews looking red-faced.

The 26-year-old summer signing – who was released by Bolton – spilled the ball and dropped it over his line.

On the hour mark United had a chance to double their lead as Alessandra peeled away and put Gavin Reilly through, but a smart save from Matthews kept the score at 1-0. A minute later Sunderland made 11 changes to their team.

United's aspirations of making it two wins in the last two against teams in higher divisions were dashed on 64 minutes, when ex-Blue Charlie Wyke got the leveller for the home side as he struck from close range.

The game followed Carlisle's 2-1 win at relegated Championship side Wigan on Saturday.

With 20 minutes to play Chris Maguire put the North East team ahead after a quick break from midfield left the Cumbrian's light at the back.

Maguire timed his run perfectly leaving himself with a tap in.

The number seven almost doubled his tally soon after as he dragged a shot wide of the post.

Carlisle had the chance to level things when the first signing of the summer - defender George Tanner - found himself in acres of space to cross.

His delivery across the face of the goal evaded the lunges of Alessandra and Joshua Kayode by a fraction.

Both teams battled the elements as Storm Francis brought heavy rain and strong winds in the lead up to kick-off.

Dan Neil smashed the upright at the other end as he arrived late to volley a deep delivery, but Wyke was there to pick up the loose pieces and make it 3-1.

He twisted past a challenge and dinked it into the net.

On the hunt for their second, United turned defence into attack as Charlie Birch broke free with help from skipper Nick Anderton and Joshua Kayode.

Mellish's shot left a relieved Patterson scrambling as the ball bent past the upright.


Sunderland - Wyke (64, 80), Maguire (70)

Carlisle United - Alessandra (52)


Sunderland - Matthews, McLaughlin, Flanagan, Willis, Feeney, Power, Diamond, Scowen, Grigg, O'Brien, Gooch. Subs - Patterson, Hume, Wyke, Dobson, Maguire, Leadbitter, O'Nien, Wright, Hackett, Taylor, Neil.

*all Sunderland subs took to the field of play on 61 minutes (Flanagan remained on from the original starting eleven

Carlisle United - Farman, Riley (Tanner 46), Hayden, Hunt, Anderton (c), Mellish, Devine, Guy (Kayode 46), Alessandra, Brennan (Toure 25), Reilly (Birch 80). Subs - Robinson, Armstrong.

Referee - Mr G Eltringham