Barnsley humiliated Sunderland scoring an easy 3-0 victory at Oakwell. Goals from Ike Ugbo, Harvey Barnes and George Moncur sealed a comfortable victory for Paul Heckingbottom’s men on a miserable afternoon for Grayson and co.
Back to back defeats for the Black Cats leaves Sunderland on a mediocre five points from five games as they struggle to find momentum under Simon Grayson. Barnsley leapfrog the Black Cats in the league table as they now have six points after their second victory this season.
Barnsley XI: Adam Davies (c), Matty Pearson, Adam Jackson, Liam Lindsay, Jason McCarthy, Joe Williams, George Moncur, Brad Potts, Adam Hammill, Harvey Barnes, Ike Ugbo.
Subs: Nick Townsend, Ethan Pinnock, Alex Mowatt, Jared Bird, Ryan Hedges, Tom Bradshaw, Mamadou Thiam.
Sunderland XI: Robin Ruiter, Billy Jones, Lamine Kone, Tyias Browning, Bryan Oviedo, Didier Ndong, Lee Cattermole (c), Aiden McGeady, George Honeyman, Lewis Grabban, James Vaughan.
Subs: Jason Steele, John O’Shea, Joel Asoro, Wahbi Khazri, Lynden Gooch, Adam Matthews, Darron Gibson.
The home side got off to a quick start getting in behind the Mackems twice, but were thwarted by a mixture of poor crossing and decent last ditch defending from Billy Jones and Lamine Kone in the first five minutes. A nervy start for the Lads.
After some decent play, however, Sunderland wasted a golden chance moments later. George Honeyman raced into the Tykes’ box, but scuffed a simple square pass to Lewis Grabban who was waiting for an early tap in. A let off for Barnsley, but would this galvanize Sunderland into further action?
The visitors settled after a shaky first half with both Honeyman and Aiden McGeady seeing efforts inside the Barnsley area cleared away in the first ten minutes. Sunderland were on the up, but it wouldn’t last much longer.
Despite the Black Cats controlling much of the first 20 minutes Barnsley continued to harry the ex-Premier League boys into mistakes as their central midfield triplet began to assert control over the middle of the park. Brad Potts skied over from a tight angle, after Barnsley successfully dispossessed Kone down by his own byline, and Sunderland were on the back foot again.
The game changed about halfway through the first a mixture of Sunderland complacency and improved Barnsley pressing led to the game being played on the home side’s terms. Barnsley were able to nullify Sunderland’s wide play by doubling up on McGeady and Honeyman, and with no wide outlet, Sunderland’s forwards seemed out of ideas. Grabban came deep and Vaughan stayed forward, but the latter just didn’t have the pace or presence to trouble the Barnsley defence.
As the game wore on, a poor ball in midfield from Jones sent Barnsley away on the counter. George Moncur found time and space outside the Sunderland area, and his low drive from distance forced Robin Ruiter into a save which was parried away for a corner.
Moments later, and another Barnsley chance was squandered with Potts missing from close range. The ex-West Ham player could only glance a free header straight at Ruiter from six yards out. Sunderland had been warned.
However, yet another Barnsley break minutes later saw Sunderland stretched apart and broken. Lee Cattermole and Kone were guilty of ball watching as Heckingbottom’s men broke from left to right. A dangerous ball across the Wearsiders’ six yard box was only partially deflected by Ruiter and scuffed in by Ugbo at close range for the opener. Poor play from Grayson’s men, but how would they respond?
Well, within 5 minutes Barnsley doubled their lead. Tyias Browning could only half clear dangerous corner from the right and Barnes smashed in on the volley first time. The piledriver was right down Ruiter’s throat, but the Dutchman was beat by the sheer pace of the volley. Sunderland were on the ropes and Barnsley knew it.
Sunderland had to weather a Barnsley onslaught for the next five minutes but were given a reprieve when James Vaughan was sent away on the counter. Racing onto a long ball over the top, the 29 year old was clumsily brought down by Liam Lindsay. The Scotsman was fortunate to escape with just a booking and Sunderland were unlucky to see referee, Chris Kavanagh award a free kick just outside the area. McGeady shot over from the resulting free kick, but the momentum switched again. Sunderland wasted another good opening, with Grabban shooting from distance rather, play McGeady through on goal. It felt like today was going to be one of those days.
Half Time : Barnsley 2-0 Sunderland (Ugbo 31 , Barnes 35)
Despite trailing by two Sunderland never really mounted any sustained second half pressure. Grabban went down in the Barnsley six yard box ten minutes into the second half wishfully hoping for a penalty, and that was about as good as it got for Grayson’s side.
The only other chance of note came 15 minutes into the second stanza, Jones flicking on a McGeady free kick though it was comfortably held by Adam Davies.
Barnsley were comfortable throughout, especially in the last half hour. Barnes nearly added a third cushioning a far post cross onto the roof of the net from a tight angle. Sunderland tried to mix things up by introducing Gooch and Khazri, but alas they couldn’t turn the tide.
Minutes later the win was sealed. McGeady conceded possession cheaply with a pass to no-one sending Barnsley away. Ugbo’s perfectly weighted through ball set Moncur away, and he curled brilliantly into the top corner beating Ruiter at his near post. Game over.
Sunderland never threatened thereafter; Grabban won a corner with long range effort that Davies parried over, but Sunderland never looked like scoring if truth be told.
From minute one Sunderland were out-battled and out-worked by less heralded, less famous opposition in a sorry showing. An awful arrogant display from the Black Cats who struggled to mix up their play and paid the price.
Full Time: Barnsley 3 - 0 Sunderland
Robin Ruiter: 5/10 - Partially culpable on the first half goals, must do better.
Billy Jones: 4/10 - Seems to get worse each week, looks surprisingly poor even by Championship standards.
Lamine Kone: - 4/10- Arrogant showing. Wanted too much time on the ball, and wandered out of position regularly. Grayson must explain the Ivorian has no God-given right to excel at this level.
Tyias Browning: - 5/10 - The only Sunderland player interested in defending today, still at fault for the second Barnsley goal.
Bryan Oviedo: - 5/10 - Didn’t look ready for the physical battle with Adam Hammill, one of many guilty of over-playing in dangerous areas. Tried several long balls to no effect - poor.
Lee Cattermole: - 5/10 - Largely ineffective game, was caught ball-watching on Barnsley’s crucial opener, and struggled to get anything going from midfield - too many wasteful long balls.
Didier Ndong: - 6/10 - Worked tirelessly, had one of those games where his final pass let him down once too often.
Aiden McGeady: - 6/10 - Provided some of Sunderland’s best moments of quality, all too rarely though, a peripheral figure.
George Honeyman: - 5/10 - Not decisive enough, no where near clinical enough despite being found in great positions. He has to do more if he’s going to make it at Sunderland.
Lewis Grabban: - 5/10 - Pressed well in the first half, but struggled when moved up to lead the line. Guilty of playing for himself at times too.
James Vaughan: - 5/10 - Worked hard again, could have got Lindsay sent off, but clearly a player struggling for confidence.
Lynden Gooch - 5/10 - Largely anonymous, unable to affect the game when coming off the bench.
Wahbi Khazri 6/10 - For all his flaws he provided an extra touch of quality and composure in midfield when introduced.
Adam matthews 5/10 - Barely touched the ball, brought on to save Oviedo.
Man of the Match: No Sunderland player deserves this distinction today - very poor across the pitch.