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Finlay’s Report: “If Sunderland play as bad at Barnsley as they did at Wycombe they’ll get beat”

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Despite all the drama that occurred at Wycombe on Saturday, the fact of the matter is that Sunderland were nowhere near good enough - a huge improvement is needed when we take on Barnsley tomorrow!

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Sunderland scored a late equaliser through Duncan Watmore during a frantic 13 minutes of injury time at the end of the match at Wycombe in a period which saw the referee give three red cards out.

Chairboys striker Alex Samuel gave his side a deserved lead after 35 minutes when he was left free at the back post to slot the ball into the bottom left corner of Jon McLaughlin’s net.

A ridiculous amount of stoppages led to a lot of injury time and you could argue that Sunderland were lucky to score level the scores - an error by Ryan Allsop in the Wycombe goal from Grant Leadbitter’s shot gave Duncan Watmore the opportunity to score his first league goal of the season.

The action wasn’t over then as when the Wycombe bench kicked the ball away to halt Sunderland from taking a quick throw-in, a furious George Honeyman charged into the opposition area and a melee broke out on the touchline. After consulting with the assistant and fourth official on the near side, the referee showed a red card to the Sunderland skipper and Wycombe forward Nathan Tyson.

When play resumed, another red card was handed out - this time to Marcus Bean, a second yellow for a horrific challenge on Duncan Watmore, which Jack Ross thought should have been “a straight red card”.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jack Ross made two changes to the side that progressed to the Checkatrade Trophy final with a two-nil victory over Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night - the same team that had started the game the previous weekend against Plymouth Argyle. Reece James and Lee Cattermole came back into the side after the semi-final for Adam Matthews and Max Power.

Sunderland weren’t on their game from the start and were caught out in the 35th minute when Dominic Gape took possession away from Lewis Morgan and skipped past Grant Leadbitter, feeding Paris Cowan-Hall in the penalty area. He squared the ball to Alex Samuel, who was in space and calmly tucked the ball into the bottom left corner.

Sunderland fans were left wondering how was Samuel given so much space.

In the second half, a teasing Grant Leadbitter cross from a free kick on the right allowed Tom Flanagan to nod the ball onto the crossbar.

After a tonne of stoppages there were a minimum of six minutes to be added on. No one would have thought that six minutes would have become thirteen minutes, but the Sunderland fans wouldn’t have cared as Duncan Watmore scored an equaliser. Grant Leadbitter’s shot from around 30 yards out was spilled by Ryan Allsop, and Watmore’s follow-up was thumped into the back of the Wycombe net.

A few minutes later, a massive touchline brawl between both benches was caused when someone from the Wycombe side didn’t allow Sunderland to take a quick throw, kicking the ball away. George Honeyman was annoyed and raced across to shove the person in question, so tempers flared and the referee gave both our captain and Nathan Tyson a red card. This now means that Honeyman - barring a successful appeal - will now miss the Checkatrade Trophy final after the game with Fleetwood Town was postponed.

Then, in the tenth minute of added time, Marcus Bean was given a second yellow for a horrific challenge from the Wycombe man on Duncan Watmore, leaving the Sunderland forward - who only recently returned from a bad injury - in agony.

There was no more action in the match, so Sunderland managed to take a point as the game ended Wycombe 1-1 Sunderland.

Next up, we face one of the biggest games of our season as we take on Barnsley on Tuesday night at Oakwell. I feel if we play the same way as we did on Saturday the gap at the top of the table will increase to seven points, so with Honeyman out for three games, I think that Ross should give Charlie Wyke a chance to start up top. I would be happy with a point against Barnsley as their home record is outstanding and the gap doesn’t increase.

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