Saturday’s defeat away to Wycombe left fans frustrated as the Lads struggled to make their mark. Last night, however, Phil Parkinson’s men were absolutely insatiable at times, and this win was one that was needed in order to help build momentum.
Sunderland mustered 16 shots on the opposition goal, with 6 of those on target, and 5 of those finding the back of the net. Tranmere, admittedly, were particularly poor, but Parkinson’s men looked to constantly get the ball into dangerous areas, playing the numbers game that the Sunderland manager had discussed earlier in the week.
Sunderland didn’t dominate possession, but they did look threatening in attack; furthermore, the team kept a clean sheet, too.
Ultimately, the win is a real positive. It gives fans a reason to be optimistic moving forward, and it generates some much-needed confidence in the team as they go into this weekend’s fixture against Shrewsbury.
Several players show their worth
If truth be told, the entire Sunderland side had a positive game, but for several first-teamers their performance will have gone a long way to highlighting their worth.
Will Grigg, Duncan Watmore, Chris Maguire, Max Power and Denver Hume all put in absolutely stellar showings last night and deserve serious credit for their role in the impressive victory.
Denver Hume showed fantastic attacking intent all evening, and was also tidy in defence, too. Parkinson spoke this week about getting dangerous crosses into the opposition’s area and Hume showed some real quality in his delivery last night.
In midfield, Max Power anchored the middle of the park with determination, grit, and class. He moved the ball effectively and shielded the back four remarkably well. In front of him, Chris Maguire ran the show for large spells of the game. His chip over the top allowing Watmore to square for Gooch’s goal was sublime - as was his free-kick. He should be the answer to Sunderland’s need for a number ten moving forward.
In attack, Will Grigg linked play together well - including a lovely ball for Watmore to open the scoring. He also managed to bag himself a goal after a performance full of endeavour. Yes it was a tap in from a couple of yards out, but those are the goals we need to be scoring, and Grigg is a predatory finisher in those kinds of areas. Parkinson’s approach play really got a good performance out of the prolific Northern Irishman.
Finally, Duncan Watmore was beyond brilliant. Full of energy and always trying to pen the opposition back in their final third, Watmore’s tireless running prevented Tranmere from gaining a foothold in the game. His goal was well executed, he won the free-kick for Maguire to finish, and then teed up Gooch for Sunderland’s third. It’s fantastic to see Duncan looking healthy and ready to play. Long may it continue!
Was last night’s win the cathartic moment we’ve needed in order to get our challenge for promotion back on track? Maybe.
Yes, the Lads were fantastic, but, to be fair, Tranmere were pretty poor.
A five-nil drubbing is never something to be sniffed at, but Sunderland simply must take this positive attitude, energy, and playing style into the weekend’s game against Shrewsbury.
We cannot let this be a case of one step forward, two steps back. They must capitalise on this great result and use it to fuel their assault on League One.
Today let’s be content with a great win and some brilliant football. This weekend, let’s see it all over again, please!