Brentford 3-3 Sunderland
Sunderland drew 3-3 with fellow strugglers Brentford at Griffin Park this afternoon, throwing away a two goal lead having been 3-1 up at half time.
Two goals from Lewis Grabban and an own goal from the Daniel Bentley should have been enough to see Simon Grayson’s side take all three points, but their mental fragility showed and they leave the capital with their tails between their legs having given up a fantastic chance of taking a much-needed win.
Sunderland remain second bottom having missed a golden opportunity to climb out of the relegation zone.
Here’s how it went, and how the Lads rated.
Sunderland showed greater intensity and intent from kick off at Griffin Park. They squandered the first real chance of the match five minutes in - Grabban headed over from close range, from an Aiden McGeady set piece, after Duncan Watmore picked out the striker on the six yard box. Big early chance, wasted.
The home side punished Sunderland for their early wastefulness scoring in the eight minute. Lee Cattermole was culpable giving away possession in midfield, Brentford were quick to act, taking advantage of John O’Shea ball watching and lazy play from Oviedo on the cover to play Florian Jozefoon through one on one. His finish hit the inside of the post and Yennaris tapped into an empty net.
The Black Cats weren’t behind for long showing a clinical nature, untypical of the season. Oviedo made up for his initial error, winning back possession, to then drive forward and play Grabban through on goal. The Bournemouth loanee was decisive, passing into the corner beyond Daniel Bentley in the Bees goal.
The Mackems settled well after getting level, looking the marginally better team in a game where the wind was playing havoc.
Sunderland’s best football of the half saw a penalty shout waved away by referee Darren England. Watmore and Didier Ndong exchanged sharp passes, before the former played in George Honeyman. The 23 year old showed quick feet to evade the Brentford defence, and tumbled dramatically over a Brenford leg. A decent shout, Honeyman may have got the call, had he not been so theatrical on his way to ground.
Watmore who grew into the half, beat his man on the byline again, this time shooting poorly from a tight angle when Aiden McGeady and Grabban were up in support.
Further away pressure lead to Sunderland taking the lead. Oviedo finally made one of several corners count, his wind assisted in-swinger was poorly dropped by Bentley to give the Black Cats the lead.
In first half injury time, it got even better. Watmore drove at his opposite number again and was dragged down for a clear penalty.
Grabban stepped up to score his second penalty of the season, calmly stroking past Bentley who dove to his left. Grabban curled the other way to give Sunderland a two goal lead at the break.
Half Time: Brentford 1-3 Sunderland
Unforgivably Sunderland let Brenford back into the game almost immediately after the re-start. Didier Ndong dragged down Ollie Watkins who was driving at the Sunderland back four having got goal side of the midfielder.
Jozefroon whipped in an excellent free kick, which flew past Jason Steele in the Sunderland goal. The free kick was powerful and flat, but was on the Sunderland stopper’s side. The ex-Middelsbrough man didn’t come close to keeping it out, despite being only a yard away from the ball.
The contest was way too open for Sunderland and Grayson’s liking at 3-2, but Sunderland did continue to provide a threat, especially through the pace of Grabban and Watmore. Aiden McGeady came close to making it four, lashing into the side netting from a tight angle, after showing good close control to make room for the shot.
Twelve minutes from time Brentford did equalise. Jozefzoon going on another enterprising run cutting in onto his left, he saw his shot inadvertently deflect past a wrong footed Steele. Substitute, Neal Maupay was awarded the goal, it was his shin that proved decisive in taking the ball beyond Steele.
At 3-3 the home side looked much more likely to nick all three points. Sunderland looked nervous, especially their goalkeeper. Steele tipped behind a slow through ball going a yard wide of goal, such were his nerves.
Steele did managed two important stops in the final ten, first denying Maupay whose glancing header was heading for the bottom corner. He he also did well to hold a long-distance drive, from Josh McEachran.
Ultimately Sunderland held on for another draw, but when you can’t close out a 3-1 lead against a fellow bottom half team. It does beg the question when will we ever win again?!
Full Time: Brentford 3-3 Sunderland
Jason Steele, 3/10: Could he have done better for the free-kick goal? Granted, it was well struck, but his positioning was questionable. Suspect for their third too. He’s terrible.
Bryan Oviedo, 7/10: Had a good afternoon, and his ball for Grabban’s opener was top notch.
John O’Shea, 6/10: Not really sure - alright, I guess.
Lamine Kone, 6/10: I just don’t like him.
Billy Jones, 4/10: Crap. Looks past it.
Lee Cattermole, 2/10: Another awful performance from a player that really needa dropping.
Didier Ndong, 6/10: Average.
George Honeyman, 5/10: He’s not really offering us much more than workrate at the moment.
Aiden McGeady, 5/10: Not as much of a threat today.
Duncan Watmore, 7/10: Tenacious as always - his run for the penalty was sublime. He adds so much to our side.
Lewis Grabban, 8/10: No complaints from me. Nice to see an actual proper forward up top for a change.
(SUB) James Vaughan, 5/10: 3-3 and we bring this knacker on. Frig off.
(SUB) Callum McManaman, 5/10: Offered very little.
Man of the Match: Lewis Grabban.