Willis showed his quality
It hasn’t been the easiest of starts for Sunderland’s new recruits, including Jordan Willis, who looked a little uncomfortable in our opening two league games.
However, Jack Ross’s decision to revert to a back four has evidently injected confidence into the former Coventry City player, as he built on a steady midweek performance in the League Cup with a goal, and arguably a man of the match performance.
Willis really grew into the game, keeping the Portsmouth front line at bay, whilst he also seems to be very well suited to playing with Alim Ozturk at the heart of the defence.
More performances like this, and the summer recruit will endear himself to the Wearside faithful in no time.
Chris Maguire - the man for the big occasion
The King stepped up for Sunderland when it mattered yet again, scoring the crucial winner to give the Lads all three points whilst continuing to wind up fans of his former club up in the process.
There’s long been an argument that the Scottish attacker is a better option off the bench and rarely performs when given the chance from the off but, not for the first time in his Sunderland career, he made a mockery of that train of thought.
Many have spoken of the attitude Chris Maguire brings to the squad when he plays, with his swagger and totally commitment to sh*thousery no doubt a trait that gets the Stadium of Light crowd going, but it’s his ability to win a game that is the main reason he should be one of the first names on the teamsheet.
His link up play with Aiden McGeady is a fantastic weapon in our arsenal and with the Scot in the team, we always seem to have something more about us up top.
McNulty injury a blow, but Wyke was immense
It’s been a feature of our opening four games, but loanee Marc McNulty once again worked his socks off and continued to impress us with her sheer energy and impressive link to play. It was no surprise an audible grown was heard when he pulled up in the second half, with the Scot causing all sorts of problems for Christian Burgess in Pompey’s back line.
However, credit must be given to Charlie Wyke for the second time in a week for his man mountain performance.
Wyke has struggled for much of his Wearside career, but he finally looks up to match speed for the first time since he joined. The way that he bullied Burgess and Downing in the Pompey defence was a sight to behold. He won absolutely everything after coming on, but not only was he a fantastic outlet up top as Portsmouth pushed hard for a leveller, he was also a genuine goal threat, showing fancy footwork and brilliant link up play.
Whilst it’ll be a shame if Marc McNulty is injured for the foreseeable future, big Charlie is showing the kind of form we expected him to when we first brought him from Bradford City last year.
Max Power is back to his best
When the former Wigan man joined the Lads last summer, initially on loan, it looked like we had picked up a bargain. We’d signed a player who knew what it took to get out of this division, and could grab a game by the scruff of the neck at this level. Despite this, Max endured a difficult campaign where he struggled for form, with niggling injuries and numerous red cards halting his ability to hold down a place in the side.
In our midweek win at Accrington and then again yesterday we saw a version of Max that looked much more like the player that we were expecting to see when we signed him. He dictated play from the middle, and the accuracy in his distribution was superb. He battled like a terrier, and looked sharp.