The Black Cats drew 1-1 with AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night UK time, having tried to get the game postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak left eight players unavailable for selection.

The game, however, went ahead as planned and the home side found itself trailing at half-time after Joe Piggott’s penalty put the visitors ahead.

But it was Melbourne-born Wright, an ever-present for his side the term, who popped up in the second period to half-volley home the equaliser and secure a point.

It’s the Socceroo’s second goal of this season, after netting his first goal in Sunderland colours during October’s 2-2 draw at Rochdale.

Bailey Wright
Wright lashes home the equaliser for Sunderland for his second strike of the League One season

Difficult season

It’s been a tricky few months for Wright and his Sunderland teammates.

The Mackems have now won just once in their last seven league games and saw manager Phil Parkinson sacked at the end of November with the promotion hopefuls languishing outside the play-off places in eighth.

Lee Johnson has since been installed as boss, but his uphill task became all the more difficult after a squad member tested positive for coronavirus and seven more were told to self-isolate at home.

A statement on the club’s website noted that it had “explored the option” of postponing the Wimbledon game but that an agreement "couldn't be reached" with the English Football League.

Wright and Johnson actually have history together, as it was the latter who signed the former to a deal at Bristol City in 2017 before loaning the defender out to Sunderland ahead of a permanent move at the start of this season.

The Aussie centre-back has played every league game for his side this season, anchoring a three-man defence under former boss Parkinson and continuing to feature in a new-look back four under Johnson.

Earlier this term Wright helped Sunderland keep five clean sheets in a row, but it was at the other end that he made an impact against Wimbledon.

Bailey Wright
Wright (second from right) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Wimbledon

His goal came in the 61st minute as he shrugged off a defender in the opponent’s penalty area, took the ball down on his chest before lashing home from a tight angle and with his weaker left-foot.

Sunderland now sits in ninth place in League One, two points off the play-off spots.

Next up for three Black Cats is a trip to Shrewsbury Town, where Newcastle Jets midfielder Matthew Millar is currently playing on loan.