You can hear the cheers from Barnsley and Portsmouth after Sunderland slipped up, which left Lads fans everywhere wondering if our team would have to settle for the play-offs.
This is after we drew 1-1 against Peterborough while everyone around us won, leaving Jack Ross’ side four points adrift of Barnsley in that much-sought after second automatic promotion spot. Max Power had given Sunderland the lead in the 86th minute when his low strike beat Aaron Chapman - an effort which was cancelled out just minutes later when Matt Godden scored an equaliser to make sure that both sides took a point.
So, after Portsmouth came from one down to beat Coventry City 2-1 at Fratton Park in the early kickoff in League One and Barnsley beat Plymouth Argyle 3-0 at Home Park, Sunderland are now four points away from second place Barnsley.
This means even if we win their game in hand we can’t catch the Tykes, instead hoping we not only win three very tough games but that Daniel Stendel’s men also slip up in one of their two remaining fixtures.
First Half: Sunderland Unable To Take Their Chances
Bryan Oviedo picked up a booking just minutes into the game when he brought down Durham-born Marcus Maddison in the Sunderland half. Shortly after, Sunderland had one of the first chances of the match when Max Power’s shot was on target, but it proved to be an easy save for the Peterborough goalkeeper Aaron Chapman.
In the 29th minute the home side had a good opportunity to take the lead when Maddison was given space to weave around the Sunderland half and progress forward. From just outside the penalty area, his curling shot flew wide of the left post.
The biggest chance of the opening 45 came when Cattermole played a fantastic through ball through to Charlie Wyke which sent the big man through on goal - despite the golden opportunity, the former Boro striker’s shot from the left side of the penalty area missed the target and hit the side netting.
If it wasn’t for a double save from Aaron Chapman then Sunderland would have been ahead - first producing a magnificent save from a Dunne header, and then a McGeady shot.
The Lads had arguably the better chances but couldn’t take them - and, as such, they went into the break with the scores level.
Second Half: Sunderland Prove Too Weak
It was a very stop-start opening to the second period, with neither side showing an attacking threat or having a real attempt to take the lead.
Jack Ross made his first substitution of the game when he brought on Will Grigg in place of George Honeyman, resulting in a change of formation with Grigg partnering Charlie Wyke up top in a 4-4-2. Soon after he made his second change, bringing on Lynden Gooch for Lewis Morgan, who’d had a good game to that point.
Then, with 78 minutes on the clock, it was time for the return of Chris Maguire, who replaced Aiden McGeady on the left wing.
With four minutes of the original 90 left, Sunderland scored the all important goal. O’Nien played the ball to Power, who cautiously made his way towards the penalty area before firing his shot from range into the bottom left corner to send the away supporters wild.
The good feeling didn’t last long though as Peterborough managed to find an equaliser in the first minute of added time. Former Newcastle United striker Ivan Toney kept hold of the ball inside the penalty area under very little pressure and played it back to Matt Godden, whose right-footed shot cushioned off the inside of the left post and into the back of the net.
No team was able to find a winner, and the game ended in a disappointing draw.
Next up, Sunderland face perhaps their biggest game of the season when Portsmouth come to the Stadium of Light. There is more to play for for the Black Cats as Portsmouth are two points ahead of Sunderland, but a win is absolutely necessary whilst also hoping Barnsley somehow slip up against Blackpool.