clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Finlay’s Report: Sunderland were class v Plymouth - pressurising the promotion pack is key!

New, comment

Sunderland’s win on Saturday didn’t really put us any closer towards the automatic promotion spots, but it was a significant performance which should act as a reminder that we are ready to pounce if the others slip up!

Sunderland AFC

Sunderland have kept up the pace for the automatic promotion places after a third-successive victory, this time putting in-form Plymouth Argyle to the sword.

Sunderland’s attacking start was rewarded when Lee Cattermole converted Lewis Morgan’s low cross with the clock just ticking past the thirty minute mark.

The Lads soaked up lots of pressure in the opening to the second half and Plymouth’s players were sure that they should have had a penalty when the ball appeared to strike Tom Flanagan’s arm. But, some good fortune and then saves from both ends kept it at only one-nil until Honeyman’s cool and composed finish with three minutes of normal time to go sealed the three points for Jack Ross’ side.

Jack Ross made one change to the side that won 2-0 against Bristol Rovers last Saturday at the Memorial Stadium, with Lewis Morgan replacing Duncan Watmore in attacking midfield. That meant that Will Grigg had another chance to increase his Sunderland tally with another start. Also, after keeping a clean sheet last week, the defence stayed the same with Tom Flanagan and Jimmy Dunne starting in the middle.

Sunderland attacked from the off and Plymouth looked primed to attempt to catch Sunderland on the counter attack. When Plymouth’s chance did come in the first half, Freddie Ladapo - the Pilgrims top scorer with 15 goals - had his low shot pushed away by Jon McLaughlin.

Sunderland AFC

With the hosts having knocked on the door a few times, the breakthrough finally came when Lewis Morgan won the ball back from Graham Carey on the right wing and produced a low cross which made its way through to Lee Cattermole. Like a regular goal scorer, Cattermole dispatched the ball into the top right corner of the net.

It should have been two just before the interval after Grigg received the ball from a few yards out, turned and his low shot was brilliantly saved by the legs of Kyle Letheren.

Plymouth came out in the second half fighting and they thought that they should have received a penalty from referee, Michael Salisbury, when Gary Sawyer weaved his way around the penalty area and his shot looked as if it deflected off the arm of Tom Flanagan. The referee was in the perfect position to judge the decision and didn’t point to the spot but instead gave the visitors a corner kick, much to the anger of the Plymouth players and staff.

After a magnificent save from Jon McLaughlin to deny Plymouth Argyle from equalising, Sunderland sealed the three points when Aiden McGeady crossed the ball into the penalty area from the left wing and Watmore controlled the ball, setting the shot up for Honeyman, whose first-time finish was fired under the goalkeeper.

Plymouth weren’t able to produce a fantastic comeback, so the match ended Sunderland AFC 2-0 Plymouth Argyle.

Despite another three points for Sunderland, it meant very little in the automatic promotion race as ten-man Barnsley beat Southend United 3-0 in the early kick-off, while Portsmouth hammered manager-less Bradford City 5-1 and Luton beat struggling Rochdale 2-0. So, Sunderland are three points ahead of Pompey, two behind Barnsley - who Sunderland face a week on Tuesday - and seven behind leaders Luton.

Next up, Sunderland face one of the biggest cup matches in the last five years as they face Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium for a chance of a Checkatrade Trophy Wembley final with Portsmouth. Jack Ross may pick a full strength side or continue with his Checkatrade Trophy squad, who got the Lads this far.

We have came this far - why can’t we go all the way?