The Black Cats once again showed they were incapable of holding onto a lead this evening as they lost 2-1 against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Joel Asoro’s beauty of a finish was ultimately in vain as the home side replied with a goal from Lucas Piazon and the likely pantomime villain Alexsandar Mitrovic.
Both of Fulham’s goals had an aura of controversy around them though. The first should arguably have never come about, and the second seemed to be offside.
Oh well, we were going down anyway.
Fulham: Marcus Bettlinelli, Ryan Fredericks, Denis Odoi, Tim Ream, Matt Targett, Kevin McDonald, Stefan Johansen, Tom Cairney, Lucas Piazon, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ryan Sessegnon
Subs: David Button, Tomas Kalas, Cyrus Christie, Oliver Norwood, Luca de la Torre, Rui Fonte, Aboubakar Kamara
Sunderland: Jason Steele, Billy Jones, John O’Shea, Lamine Kone, Marc Wilson, Paddy McNair, George Honeyman, Ethan Robson, Joel Asoro, Ovie Ejaria, Ashley Fletcher
Subs: Lee Camp, Kazenga LuaLua, Callum McManaman, Josh Maja, Adam Matthews, Jake Clarke-Salter, Bali Mumba
Sunderland saw their first sight on goal on eleven minutes. Ashley Fletcher squared the ball to George Honeyman on the edge of the box, who in turn teed up the advancing Joel Asoro - but the young Swede’s effort flashed across the face of goal and went out.
Fulham’s first real chance came eleven minutes after that. Ryan Fredericks made a mazy run down the right flank before firing a dangerous ball across the face of goal, luckily no one was there to meet it as it sailed out of harm’s way.
But things would pick up before too long - Asoro ensured that with an absolute screamer!
Fletcher headed the ball down into the nineteen year old’s path, who then seamlessly turned away from his man, raced towards goal and fired with pinpoint accuracy into the the bottom left corner.
Lucas Piazon nearly got a near-instant reply for his side, as his effort from outside the box narrowly grazed the outside of the right post.
Sunderland played the remainder of the first half with what I can only assume was a sense of ironic confidence - the defense sprayed the ball around with ease and Marc Wilson even managed something resembling a Cruyff turn. Fulham, on the other hand, were struggling to get into the game at all.
On the verge of half time, however, they did. Ovie Ejaria’s penalty appeal was controversially waved away, giving Fulham the opportunity to catch Sunderland on the break; and catch us they did - Piazon tapped home a ball squared to him from the home side’s forward burst.
The first half ended with both sides once again even.
HT: Fulham 1-1 Sunderland (Asoro 28’, Piazon 45’)
Sunderland stepped out of the dugout and straight into the eye of the storm.
Fulham were well on top once play resumed. Aboubakar Kamara weaved his way through our blue shirts in the box and fired at goal from close range - but Jason Steele displayed good reflexes to turn it away. Aleksandar Mitrovic had a decent effort too, but once again Steele palmed away the danger.
The second half ticked on and the home side showed no sign of letting up. Tom Cairney came particularly close as he was slipped in by Fredericks, but he fired wide of the far posr.
Fulham (eventually) found their second. The home side swung in a free-kick and Mitrovic (naturally) evaded his marker Fletcher and headed the ball down and into the net - though questions will be raised as to whether or not the Serbian international was offside.
Johansen’s free-kick nearly got the Cottagers their third not too long after, but Steele once again produced a fine save to keep the opposition at bay.
Sunderland, for the vast majority of the second half, were completely ineffectual going forward. The match ended with Fulham haven successfully overturned their deficit.
FT: Fulham 2-1 Sunderland (Asoro 28’, Piazon 45’, Mitrovic 76’)
Jason Steele, 7/10: Made some great saves to keep the scoreline reasonable.
Billy Jones, 4/10: Billy Jones is as Billy Jones does.
John O’Shea, 5/10: Alright, but may as well have not been there for Fulham’s opener.
Lamine Kone, 7/10: Solid throughout, especially in the first half.
Marc Wilson, 3/10: Bad.
Paddy McNair, 6/10: More solid than his midfield counterparts.
George Honeyman, 5/10: Industrious in the first half, outclassed in the second.
Ethan Robson, 5/10: Same as above.
Joel Asoro, 7/10: His finish was superb - not a bad way to celebrate your nineteenth birthday, I suppose!
Ovie Ejaria, 6/10: Would’ve won his side a penalty on another day. Decent otherwise.
Ashley Fletcher, 5/10: Laid off Asoro for our opener. Lost Mitrovic for the winner.
(SUB) Adam Matthews, 5/10: As always - he replaces Billy Jones and looks better by virtue of having pace.
(SUB) Callum McManaman, 4/10: No impact.
(SUB) Josh Maja, 4/10: See above.
Roker Report’s Man of the Match: Jason Steele.