Another day, another defeat - Sunderland lost again in embarrassing style this afternoon at the Stadium of Light, with two first half goals condemning the Black Cats to their sixteenth loss of the season.
Chris Coleman’s side remain second bottom of the table, three points adrift of safety, with relegation to League One looking increasingly likely with each and every defeat.
Sunderland: Lee Camp, Billy Jones, Jake Clarke-Salter, John O’Shea (c), Ty Browning, Lee Cattermole, Ethan Robson, George Honeyman, Aiden McGeady, Joel Asoro, Ashley Fletcher
Subs: Jason Steele, Josh Maja, Jonny Williams, Callum McManaman, Lynden Gooch, Lamine Kone, Adam Matthews
Brentford: Daniel Bentley, Andreas Bjelland, Florian Jozefzoon, Neal Maupay, Josh McEachran, Ollie Watkins, Kamohelo Mokotjo, John Egan, Romaine Sawyers, Josh Clarke, Henrik Dalsgaard
Subs: Luke Daniels, Lewis MacLeod, Ryan Woods, Emiliano Marcondes, Alan Judge, Yoann Barbet, Chris Mepham
Chris Coleman made two changes as he looked to adopt a 4-4-2 setup following the eventful afternoon in ‘Bristanbul’. Ovie Ejaria and Bryan Oviedo dropped out through injury and were replaced by Aiden McGeady and Ethan Robson - Kazenga LuaLua was also absent for reasons hitherto unknown.
Prior to kick off, former Sunderland midfielder Liam Miller - who sadly lost his battle to cancer - was honoured with a minutes applause.
Brentford were the first of the two sides to threaten the other. Ollie Watkins was picked out unmarked at the far left post and the midfielder let loose the first on-target shot of the match, but Lee Camp parried away at his near post.
Florian Jozefzoon was the next opposition player to come close - Henrik Dalsgaad squared the ball to him but he hit his effort straight at Camp from ten yards out.
The visitors kept up the pressure and eventually they got what they wanted. Lee Cattermole and John O’Shea took turns tripping over eachother as Brentford worked the ball to Kamohelo Mokotjo, who fired into the bottom right corner to make it one-nil to the opposition.
Aiden McGeady had a chance for Sunderland as he burst forward with pace and skill in equal measures before firing at goal, but the effort was gathered with relative ease by Brentford ‘keeper Daniel Bentley.
On twenty-eight minutes, the deficit was doubled. The lads conceded the ball poorly, and the resulting Brentford offensive ended with Neal Maupay backheeling the ball into the net to nab the Londoners’ second goal of the first half.
George Honeyman nearly made an instant reply as he turned in the box and fired at goal only two minutes later, but his effort couldn’t find anything more than the side netting.
Asoro forced a save out of Bentley which earned nothing more than a benign corner, and Honeyman hit the bar in the last few seconds of the opening interval, but ultimately Sunderland were ending yet another first half with yet another mountain to climb.
HT: Sunderland 0-2 Brentford (Mokotjo 13’, Maupay 28’)
Coleman made two changes prior to play resuming as Ethan Robson and Ty Browning made way for two of their more pacey colleagues - Jonny Williams and Adam Matthews.
Sunderland created a lot more in the second half straight from the get-go, with Williams, Asoro, Honeyman and McGeady all linking up well and asking questions of the Brentford back-line.
On fifty-four minutes, Williams teed up Asoro but the young Swede sent the eventul effort over. Shortly after, Honeyman slipped in McGeady but the veteran winger couldn’t pick out anyone with what should’ve been a dangerous delivery.
The lack of end product meant this resurgence wasn’t nough to quell the boos resonating around the SoL.
Brentford seldom threatened and were clearly happy to sit back - not an unwise decision given that aforementioned lack of cutting edge.
Asoro did, however, force another good save from the Brentford ‘keeper as he darted down the right flank before firing off a shot that Bentley could only turn behind. This was about as close as we were getting.
Jake Clarke-Salter missed Williams’ delivery from a corner by inches. Williams himself might’ve pulled one back as he snatched the ball from Josh Clarke as the Brentford man attempted to clear the danger from Honeyman’s cross - but the visitors got bodies in the way to halt the Welshman’s efforts.
The match ultimately fizzled out into nothingness as Sunderland recorded yet another home defeat, bringing their second foot another inch closer to the other which is currently stamped down in the grave of League One. *sigh*
HT: Sunderland 0-2 Brentford (Mokotjo 13’, Maupay 28’)
Lee Camp - 5/10: Let down by his teammates.
Billy Jones - 3/10: Channel Four’s newest documentary analyses a series of atrocious footballers who, in retrospect, seem to have earned career time in the Premier League inexplicably. Under the microscope in our pilot episode is none other than Billy Jones of Sunderland.
Jake Clarke-Salter - 4/10: Got tortured in the first half, fared a bit better in the second.
John O’Shea - 3/10: Looked slow and disorganised. We expect the first of those adjectives, but not the second for god’s sake...
Ty Browning - 4/10: Did a bit better than JCS, but only marginally.
Lee Cattermole - 3/10: ...and if you enjoyed the pilot of our new, hard-hitting analytical documentary, then you’re going to love the second installment!
Ethan Robson - 3/10: Seemed completely out of his depth.
George Honeyman - 6/10: Industrious throughout, unlucky not to make something happen.
Aiden McGeady - 4/10: Looked dangerous for all of eight seconds in the first half when he burst forward and shot.
Joel Asoro - 7/10: Probably the only ‘good’ performance we’ve seen this afternoon. Threatened Brentford all afternoon and was unlucky not to record anything more than a few on-target efforts.
Ashley Fletcher - 4/10: Needed more from the ‘Target Man’ role today.
(SUB) Jonny Williams - 6/10: Was definitely the right idea bringing him on, at least. Breathed some life into our offensives.
(SUB) Adam Matthews - 5/10: Alright, I suppose.
(SUB) Josh Maja - 4/10: No more effective or ineffective than Fletcher.
Man of the Match: Joel Asoro.