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Talking Tactics: It wasn’t really a game for the stattos, but Sunderland defended resolutely!

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Horrendous weather meant Sunderland’s draw with Barnsley was a difficult one to judge from a statistical perspective - but, despite that, the Lads deserve credit for managing to keep a clean sheet under the circumstances.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The Teams...

Jack Ross made four changes, three of which were forced upon him by injury, to the side which drew one-all with Wycombe on Saturday afternoon.

Tom Flanagan, Reece James, George Honeyman and Lewis Morgan all made way for Jack Baldwin, Adam Matthews, Max Power and Lynden Gooch.

Despite these changes, Sunderland continued in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Jon McLaughlin continued in goal, with a changed back four of Luke O’Nien, Jack Baldwin, Jimmy Dunne and Adam Matthews. Lee Cattermole and Grant Leadbitter started at the base of midfield, just behind Max Power in the number ten role. Aiden McGeady and Lynden Gooch started out wide, with Will Grigg continuing up front.

Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel named an unchanged team following his side’s two-nil win at Accrington Stanley at the weekend.

The home side also started in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Adam Davies in goal; Dimitri Cavare, Ethan Pinnock, Liam Lindsay and Dani Pinillos making up the back five. Alex Mowatt and Kenneth Dougall started in the middle of the park, with attacking trio of Jordan Green, Mike-Steven Bahre and Mamadou Thiam starting behind lone striker Cauley Woodrow.

Barnsley 0 - 0 Sunderland AFC (12/03/2018)

A rarity - Sunderland defended resolutely

With Tom Flanagan ruled out of Tuesday’s game with concussion, Jack Baldwin had a chance to redeem himself following a couple of poor performances which ultimately led to his omission from the team for the last few games.

The former Peterborough captain was arguably Sunderland’s best player at Oakwell, and he played his part in an uncharacteristically resolute defensive performance.

In the first half especially, Sunderland we’re under seige with gale-force winds and Barnsley’s fluid and well-drilled attacking play forcing them back into their own half unable to get out and put pressure on the home side.

But, with a bit of luck when Barnsley hit the bar and forced a couple of decent saves out of McLaughlin, Sunderland managed to get to half time on level terms, and the second half was a more even affair.

Baldwin’s performance was a welcome positive for a Sunderland side which has looked shaky at the back for much of the season - and hits ability to bring the ball out of defence could be a vital ingredient especially when Sunderland play the division’s weaker teams.

Jack Baldwin was impressive on his return to the side
Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jack Ross made his changes too late

Although in isolation a point with a side unbeaten at home is a good result, Sunderland fans can be forgiven for thinking Jack Ross could have done more to help his side win the match.

His substitutions especially may quite rightly come in for criticism, as the Scot waited until 75 minutes until he replaced the wasteful Gooch with Morgan and only brought on Kaziah Sterling in stoppage time.

This is despite it being obvious to all that is wasn't the American's night, and that Will Grigg was woefully isolated up front - the game was crying out for someone with pace to put pressure on the Barnsley defence.

Grant Leadbitter was largely a passenger throughout the game following his early yellow card which left him unable to make strong tackles and stamp his authority on the match.

A draw is by no means a bad result, but Jack Ross could have done more to try and make it all three - and give Sunderland the upper hand in the promotion race.

Lynden Gooch was poor, but was only replaced by Morgan with 15 minutes left
Sunderland AFC via Getty Images