Match Report

Another lackluster performance means Sunderland are now winless in their last 3 games.

Accrington Stanley pulled a goal back on the 84th minute from Mitchell Clark after a mistake from Tom Flanagan sent Matt Butcher through on goal and he went on to pass it around Thorben Hoffman to give Clarke an open goal.

Sunderland started the first half brightly as Lynden Gooch did well to get passed his man on the left hand side and played a wonderful ball in towards Ross Stewart who headed into the ground and the Stanley goalkeeper palmed it around the post on the 4th minute.

After that, it was a quiet first half for both teams, with Stanley arguably the better of the 2 sides as the main opportunity of the half saw striker Colby Bishop force a brilliant save from Hoffman with a looping header from just inside the box on the 36th minute.

Sunderland however, finished the half strongly as Leon Dajaku wriggled passed his man on the right hand side and put in a dangerous ball, which was defended well by the Stanley defender and went behind for a corner.

Lee Johnson must have woke the players up with his half time team talk as Sunderland looked a lot more lively at the start of the 2nd half, with substitute Aiden O’Brien scoring just 2 and a half minutes into the half.

Stanley defender Ross Sykes got himself booked on 58 minutes after complaining to the referee after not being awarded a corner following a shot from Ethan Hamilton.

Sykes then saw red just 18 minutes later as Sunderland tried to break and he brought down Ross Stewart just over the half way line.

The Black Cats looked comfortable after this despite not creating many chances to put the game to bed and were punished after being caught on the break which saw Mitchell Clarke score the leveler 6 minutes from full time.

My Take

Johnson really needs to get into these players and find a response.

I am not really sure what has happened in the past week or so but we look tired and a lot of our play has looked lifeless. We struggled to create chances and when we did we failed to capitalise on them.

Despite the performance not being quite as bad as Tuesday night, we still need to improve massively if we want to get out of this league.

When on the ball there has been a real lack of movement in the last couple of games with some players looking like they don’t even want the ball playing to them.

It was good to see Dajaku and Hoffman back in the squad today after being hit by Corona Virus over the past week or so, and i think that did contribute to the slightly better performance today (still not good enough though).

I believe that this game really highlights that we need to find a good few players to come in during this transfer window to bring more depth to the squad, as today we really needed an impact player to come off the bench and change the game, but due to injuries we didn’t have that player today.

I would have liked to have seen diamond come on, just to add that bit more pace and enthusiasm to our attack in the closing minutes of the game.

There are clearly some investments that need bringing in to improve our starting 11 too if we are to stay in contention and compete for the automatic places because we all know our luck in the playoffs!

However, we now have a week off for the players to rest and regroup before a huge game against Portsmouth at home next Saturday, and hopefully we bring in 1 or 2 players during that time to give the lads a boost.

Player Ratings

Thorben Hoffman – 6/10

Didn’t really do anything wrong and couldn’t do anything about Stanley’s equaliser.

Dennis Cirkin – 5/10

An OK performance defensively, however on the ball he seemed to hold on to it for too long allowing the Stanley players to get on top of him. He also struggled to create anything going forward.

Callum Doyle – 7/10

A much improved performance from Tuesday night, and went on a brilliant charging run to find O’Brien for goal. he did struggle in the air against a pest in Stanley striker Colby Bishop.

Tom Flannagan – 6/10

A similar performance to his defensive partner, but failed to intercept the pass that allowed Matt Butcher in for the equaliser.

Bailey Wright – 6/10

Playing in right back, it was what you can expect from the Sunderland captain, OK defensively, offered little going forward.

Dan Neil – 6/10

He was quite quiet throughout with a few nice touches and passes, but overall a dull afternoon for the youngster.

Elliot Embleton – 5/10

Started off the first half sloppy, giving the ball away a few times. Improved slightly in the 2nd half. Could have done better with his deliveries on set pieces.

Lynden Gooch – 5/10

A what seems like a typical Gooch performance. provided a good cross early on for Stewart, struggled to make an impact after that.

Alex Pritchard – 5/10

Clearly not at his best, and didn’t look fit. He was subbed off at half time, hopefully nothing serious.

Leon Dajaku – 6/10

He tried very hard and looked dangerous on a few occasions. Still not his best performance but you can’t knock his work rate.

Ross Stewart – 5/10

Similar to Dajaku, you cant knock his work ethic, however he did struggle against physical Stanley defenders and looked very isolated throughout.

Aiden O’Brien – 6/10

The man came on with a point to prove. He closed down well when coming on and got his goal early on. However, he drifted away as the half wore on.

Lee Johnson – 6/10

I’m not sure whether it’s tiredness of the players after a busy schedule or his tactics, but things need to improve quickly before we go on a slump again. Would have liked him to bring on Diamond in the closing stages.

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