QUESTION: What are your thoughts on last night’s performance and result from Sunderland in their 1-0 win over Tranmere?
It was a testing ninety minutes of football, and really we have to be pleased that we managed to emerge with a clean sheet and three points.
I know it’s an easy cop out to blame the state of the pitch for the way we played, but it’s true to say that both teams struggled to play anything resembling decent football due to the state of the surface. It was absolutely horrific, and the short passing game we’ve seen adopted in recent weeks was impossible to employ here when the surface was so lumpy and slow. We really struggled to move the ball, and as such the game became about who could out-fight the other and score with the one decent chance they were able to fashion. Thankfully, Sunderland just about pipped Tranmere and deserved their victory.
Winning this game was vitally important going into Saturday’s trip to Fratton Park.
The table is so tight, and whilst it may feel like our current form is not sustainable, it simply has to be. Dropping points could see us drop right back out of the play-off positions, and we really cannot afford to waste all the good work we’ve done in the last month or so.
Portsmouth not only have a game in hand over us, but they’re just one point behind. Ensuring we have that advantage over them going into the game at the weekend was key, and it’s one of many reasons why I feel the manager and players deserve credit for managing to win a game that could well have ended as a draw or a defeat on another night.
Look how tight the table is. Shows just how important winning tonight was. pic.twitter.com/kenYcXxclp— Roker Report (@RokerReport) January 29, 2020
Phil Butler says...
I’d say in general Sunderland’s performances are becoming quite formulaic.
In each of the last three games Parkinson’s side have looked fairly solid at the back, and matched or slightly out performed the opposition side in the first half, but have often been sloppy in possession.
Then, after half time there’s been a clear improvement in performance, and an increased intensity to Sunderland’s play and against MK Dons and again at Tranmere last night these improved second half showings resulted in a narrow victory for The Lads.
The drop off in Sunderland’s attacking output continue on Merseyside, and this would be concerning if we didn’t continue to never really look like losing the game. The back three that looked all over the place when Jack Ross was in charge now looks almost impenetrable, especially as the rest of the team is working as a group to defend from the front.
Bailey Wright slotted in pretty well in the middle of the back three, and should be a good addition to the squad, especially since - being more mobile than Ozturk - he could also act as cover for the wide centre back positions as well.
Phil West says...
I was extremely impressed with the resilience we showed, and our refusal to let our heads drop despite the ugly, fragmented nature of the game. These are the kinds of tests that teams with aspirations of promotion have to pass. Away from the comforts of home, on a rutted surface, against a team who had no qualms about trying to frustrate and keep us out for the ninety minutes. We showed good professionalism, and fighting spirit in abundance. Yes, the game was horrible as a spectacle, but being on the right side of the scoreboard was so, so crucial, so it’s horses for courses.
Bailey Wright made an impressive debut. He was calm, composed and didn’t seem flustered by the importance of the occasion. Max Power was also hugely influential. He’s becoming an ever more important presence in our engine room, and I think he’s relishing the responsibility, the expectation, and is channeling it into his performances.
He is now one of our true leaders, and I would love to see him and Josh Scowen as our midfield partnership for Portsmouth. Throwing Scowen into the Fratton Park bear-pit would, I think, be a shrewd move by Parkinson.
We will learn more about Scowen if he does start, that’s for sure.
Yes, Charlie Wyke was, shall we say, hit and miss for the majority of the game, but popping up to grab what turned out to be the winner was one hell of a contribution. The man is limited in his abilities, but his workrate is admirable and he’s not a player who’ll try and hide away, which is to his credit.
Keep grabbing vital winners, Charlie, and you’ll keep yourself in credit!