Sunderland battled to a draw this afternoon in Wolverhampton, despite going down to ten men after Lee Cattermole was sent off in the second half after picking up two yellow cards in a matter of minutes.
It was a fantastic team effort and youngsters Tyias Browning, Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman all stood out in what was a resolute and well executed team performance from Chris Coleman’s side.
John Ruddy, Willy Boly, Barry Douglas, Conor Coady (c), Ryan Bennett, Matt Doherty, Ruben Neves, Romain Saiss, Diogo Jota, Ivan Cavaleiro, Leo Bonatini
Subs: Will Norris, Alfred N’Diaye, Danny Batth, Helder Costa, Jack Price, Bright, Enobkhare, Ruben Vinagre
Robbin Ruiter, Tyias Browning, John O’Shea, Marc Wilson, Adam Matthews, Donald Love, Lee Cattermole, Darron Gibson, Lynden Gooch, George Honeyman, Lewis Grabban
Subs: Jason Steele, James Vaughan, Brendan Galloway, Joel Asoro, Tom Beadling, Elliot Embleton, Aiden McGeady
Chris Coleman reshuffled an injury-hit Sunderland deck by handing starts to Donald Love and Lynden Gooch, while Aiden McGeady had to settle for a spot on the bench this afternoon.
The opening fifteen minutes were rather uneventful, save for a brief scare when Tyias Browning hesitated in possession before squaring the ball into the path of Ivan Cavaleiro - but the Wolves man couldn’t make anything of it.
Fifteen minutes soon doubled to thirty, and in the half hour elapsed there was still very little to talk about. Sunderland were struggling to keep a hold of the ball, but neither side looked particularly threatening regardless of possession.
Sunderland endured another scare as Robbin Ruiter didn’t come off his line in time to beat Cavaleiro to the ball, but fortunately a Sunderland defender was on hand to clear the resulting danger.
The only glimmer of the chance had by the travelling lads came when John Ruddy fumbled a Darron Gibson corner, but the referee blew for a foul on the Wolves ‘keeper before a further Sunderland move could transpire.
The first half would come to an end with either side unable to break the other down.
Half Time - Wolves 0 - 0 Sunderland
⏱️ All square at the interval... pic.twitter.com/OGHwtIozjj— Sunderland AFC ⚪ (@SunderlandAFC) December 9, 2017
Both sides came out for the second interval unchanged, both in terms of lineup and game plan. Wolves pushed forward while Sunderland sat back and frustrated.
Marc Wilson picked up a rather moronic yellow card as he grappled and subsequently hauled down Diogo Jota, and Lee Cattermole would pick up his quintessential booking not too long after for a reckless tackle...
...a yellow that would soon become a red. Just a minute after the initial carding, Cattermole took a bad touch under pressure and tried to make up for it with another reckless tackle - getting himself an early shower as a result.
Wolves had the more plentiful share of possession before, but following Sunderland’s reduction to 10 men they were well and truly on top. Jota, Cavaleiro, Saiss and Bonatini all surged forward, linking up in a bid to meet their crowd’s expectations and break the deadlock.
The home side couldn’t seem to find an end product, however, and that was due in no small part to the resilience of the visitors as well as some late heroics from Ruiter.
The most notable testament to this defensive display being Ruiter’s save in the last few minutes of normal time. Jota let loose a curling effort from outside the box, but the Dutch stopper made a brilliant diving save to keep the scoreline level.
And that was that. A nil-nil stalemate that we’ll appreciate a lot more than the home side will. It’s nice to think that we endured an individual error without going on to lose the game.
Full Time - Wolves 0 - 0 Sunderland
Robbin Ruiter - 8/10: A great display from him today. Dealt with everything Wolves threw at him and did a good job timewasting throughout the second half.
Tyias Browning - 7/10: Went on to have a very solid game after a dodgy moment of hesitation early on.
John O’Shea - 7/10: Also solid, kept the Sunderland back line in order.
Marc Wilson - 6/10: Decent enough, but we could’ve done without that daft yellow card.
Adam Matthews - 6/10: Not his usual type of performance as he did a lot less attacking and a lot more defending, but was alright regardless.
Donald Love - 6/10: Competent, if unremarkable.
Lee Cattermole - 1/10: Absolutely pathetic. Misplaced his passes, mistimed his tackles, floundered in possession and topped it all off by getting a red card. The bloke’s completely passed it, and I think I speak as the unanimous opinion of the Mackem faithful when I say it’s time for him to move on.
Darron Gibson - 5/10: A bit too slow and wasteful to really say he had a decent showing, but I suppose his overall performance was uncontroversial.
Lynden Gooch - 8/10: Showed a tremendous work ethic from start to finish and was a vital component to today’s game plan. Coleman certainly has the right idea getting as many youth players involved as he can.
George Honeyman - 7/10: Same as Gooch in every respect.
Lewis Grabban - 5/10: Was hardly involved prior to Cattermole’s sending off, and was essentially anonymous after it.
(SUB) Brendan Galloway - 6/10: Took over from Love and continued to steer the ship.
(SUB) James Vaughan - 6/10: Got himself about a lot more than Grabban.
(SUB) Elliot Embleton - 6/10: Not an awful lot of time for the debutant to make an impact.
Man of the Match: Lynden Gooch