Sunderland 3-1 Fleetwood Town Report – Credit to Alex Neil!


Sunderland move up to fifth place tonight after an emphatic comeback against Fleetwood town.

The black Cats’ started the game slowly, failing to create any real chances.

The first chance came for Fleetwood just before the half hour mark as Sunderland were comfortable in possession before Bailey Wright tried to pass the ball back to the ‘keeper and scuffed it allowing Ellis Harrison to run through on goal and beat Anthony Patterson at his near post.

Sunderland never really looked like challenging their goalkeeper for the rest of the half apart from in injury time with a few attempts coming from Embleton and Clarke which didn’t really cause Fleetwood many problems.

After half time Alex Neil changed the setup completely, taking off Xhemajli and Evans and bringing on Gooch and Defoe making it a very attacking lineup.

The Black Cats’ then began to grow into the game and created many more half chances.

It took Sunderland just 10 minutes in the second half to get back into the game.

Jack Clarke picked up the ball on the left hand side and took it to the by-line before firing the ball into the box, which was parried out by Fleetwood ‘keeper Alex Cairnes and Elliot Embleton beat the defenders to the ball to scrape it into the back of the net.

in the 82nd minute Sunderland finally took the lead as Jermain Defoe saw his shot blocked and fall to the substitute and long – term absentee Luke O’Nien to finish cooly on his return.

The Black Cats’ then went 2 goals up as Jack Clarke cut inside onto his right foot and blast the ball into the top corner from 20-yards out in the 91st minute.

The last real action came in the 96th minute as Jermain Defoe was played in behind by Lynden Gooch but failed to squeeze the ball past Alex Cairnes.

My Views

You have got to admit that the first half tonight was diabolical.

Fleetwood deserved to take the lead as we looked extremely lethargic.

However, you have got to give Alex Neil credit for gambling and bring on 2 attacking players and taking off 2 defensive players to go for it.

And it worked!

We were a lot better in the second half, still not perfect but better.

As we hit the 75th minute I think the players started to believe they can take all 3 points as we stepped it up a gear.

Hopefully we can build on this and go on a vital run as we enter the business end of the season.

Player Ratings

Anthony Patterson 6/10

You could argue that he could have done better with thier goal but apart from that it was a pretty consistent display with a few decent saves.

Carl Winchester 6/10

He was caught out of position in the first half, but as he moved into the centre in the second he looked alot more comfortable.

Bailey Wright 6/10

First half he was a 4/10 and the second he was a 7/10 had a nightmare of a first half and gave away the goal, but in the second half he looked a lot more comfortable in a back 3.

Arbenit Xhemajli 3/10

His worst display since coming into the team. He was either passing backwards or giving the ball away. Taken off at the break.

Dennis Cirkin 6/10

Looked comfortable at the back in the second half and dealt with whatever needed dealing with.

Corry Evans 3/10

Gave the ball away too many times and he kept going missing. Surely it’s time he gets dropped now that Luke O’Nien’s back.

Jay Matete 7/10

He was one of the standout players in the first half before being sloppy for the last 5 minutes of the half with a few loose touches and wayward passes. Typically battled well in the second half, another decent performance overall.

Elliot Embleton 6/10

Did well to get ahead of the defenders to get his goal. Apart from that he was pretty quiet and his set peices weren’t great.

Jack Clarke 6/10

What. A. Strike. Overall an up and down performance from the youngster with some bright spells and some really frustrating spells.

Patrick Roberts 5/10

In the first half he was by far the most creative player on the pitch and at times looked very dangerous. However he disappeared in the second half and was eventually subbed off for O’Nien.

Ross Stewart 6/10

Looked alot better when he had Defoe up top with him as he had someone to try flick the ball onto. Despite not scoring, it wasn’t a bad display from our talisman.

Jermain Defoe 6/10

Probably his brightest game back in a Sunderland shirt. Could’ve done better with his chance at the end.

Lynden Gooch 6/10

Looked bright when coming on however he made one big mistake as he lost the ball in their attacking third. But he did look a good threat going forward.

Luke O’Nien 7/10

Looked buzzing just to be back playing and I was so happy to see him score.