St Johnstone 3 v Sunderland 0
A Saturday trip to Perth ended with victory for home side St Johnstone over an out-of-sorts Sunderland side this afternoon.
A crowd of just over 2,000 watched the Scottish Premiership side race into a three-goal first half lead, with St Johnstone striking three times in six minutes as Simon Grayson’s side collapsed following an early missed penalty from new signing James Vaughan.
The goals conceded by his side will have infuriated Simon Grayson as Saints capitalised on a lacklustre Black Cats showing to have the game killed by half-time.
First up, an 18th minute indirect free-kick inside the Sunderland penalty area following Mannone handling a backpass resulted in a goal for veteran striker Steve MacLean; midfielder David Wotherspoon extended St Johnstone’s lead on 24 minutes and then rounded the visiting ‘keeper three minutes later to see the host’s go into the break a trio of goals to the good.
A bit of huffing and puffing in the second-half as Sunderland went through the bench to give everyone a run-out, but little to cheer for the visiting 600 Mackems.
St Johnstone proved the toughest test of the summer so far and the game leaves plenty for Simon Grayson to ponder.
Another four at the back line-up for Sunderland with two holding midfielders sitting in front of them this afternoon. Ndong and Rodwell featured in the middle with Jeremain Lens and Wahbi Khazri in support of new boy James Vaughan up front to start with.
Mannone, Matthews, Kone, O’Shea, Galloway, Cattermole, Ndong, Lens, Rodwell, Khazri, Vaughan
Subs: Stryjek, Love, Browning, Djilobodji, Ledger, Beadling, Gibson, Robson E, Embleton, Honeyman, Maja, Asoro
Three changes at half-time for Sunderland with Galloway, Rodwell and Lens off for Love, Maja and Asoro.
The rest of the Black Cats squad were all introduced during the second period and each got a decent run-out.
Always a little tricky to rate players with so many changes to pre-season personnel on the pitch but with Sunderland now mid-way through their summer fixtures, it’s worth pondering who is performing and who isn’t.
Mannone - that's the Vito we don't want to see. The mistake for the first goal has to be seen to be believed. Dropped a few balls. 4/10
Matthews - wasn't bad actually. Linked well with Lens. 7/10
Kone - complete waste of a shirt this afternoon. Punted the ball upfield aimlessly. Got bullied by his centre forward. Uninterested. 4/10
O'Shea - good in possession, but was nowhere to be seen for the second and third goals. 5/10
Galloway - another game where I felt he didn't look like a full back - backed up by the fact that at least one of the goals was directly his fault. 4/10
Catts - poor, always wanted the ball but didn't use it very well and struggled to drive us forward. 5/10
Ndong - full of running and energy, passed the ball well. Pretty much a standard Ndong performance. 6/10
Rodwell - missed two good opportunities. He has this annoying knack of being in the right place, but doing the wrong thing. Still looks shot to bits confidence wise. Will he ever get any better? 6/10
Vaughan - missed a penalty and a golden opportunity from a Lens cross, but put himself about well and laid the ball of nicely. He is going to need to be more clinical when the real thing starts though. Early days, welcome to Sunderland James. 6/10
Khazri - much quieter from the Tunisian, his corners were poor too. Still looked for the ball though to try and ignite moves. 6/10
Lens - looked interested believe it or not! Anything that looked dangerous from our perspective came from his play. He's probably too good for us in all honesty. 8/10
Stryjek - nothing of note to do after his introduction mid-way through the second half. 6/10
Beadling - came on at right back and got forward well a few times. 6/10
Papy - steady, put some good tackles in but the game was dead so he wasn't really stretched. 6/10
Browning - the lad is a tank, very strong and assured on the ball. Impressed on this short showing. 7/10
Love - came on at half-time but got injured fairly quickly and went straight off. 5/10
Embleton - looking more confident with each game, you can see he has ability. 6/10
Ethan Robson - game was dead and he only had 20 mins or so. 5/10
Gibson - preferred him to Catts between the two defensive midfielders this afternoon. Better on the ball and more assured than his counterpart. 6/10
Asoro - looked too eager to impress, meaning he ran around in a somewhat headless fashion quite a bit. 6/10
Maja - impressive again. Really good first touch, makes a nuisance of himself. 7/10
Man of the match - Jeremain Lens - it was a poor team display in Perthshire, but if we were gonna score, it would have came from him.