Dear Roker Report,
What a surprise Sunderland play a better side with the chance of moving into the top 2 and they underperform as usual. The only missing element was a large crowd trudging home disappointed again. Like many fans we have been watching the games waiting for a team that would put us under pressure and actually score against us to see how we would react. The answer was always going to be that we can’t score when needed. Quite simply if you can’t convert when dominant in a match why is it going to change when you are stuggling? Apart from a 20 minute spell at the start of the second half we were out fought and out played. We have tried to give an honest assessment of the players and manager below:
Burge - looked unsure all game and didnt look like he is going to save anything.
Defence was largely combative and it would be hard to blame them for the terrible errors that led to the goals.
Midfield 3 were poor all game. Once Grant was stopped from controlling the tempo they all looked lost and Power and Scowen were ineffective in attack and defence.
Wingbacks did create at times particularly Denver but struggle defensively.
Maguire was having an off day as he sometimes does and should have been replaced.
Wyke tried hard, scored and was our man of the match.
Parky and his decisions were awful. Why he drops Diamond and has a bench of very similar players is mind blowing. When he makes changes he brings on slow, similar style players and how he thought that Wyke, Graham, Grigg and Maguire on the same pitch would work is beyond belief. We thought a breakaway goal for Portsmouth was a shoe in.
I suspect nothing will change as we are still around the top 6 but how Parky can argue that McGeady is blocking the youth when they don’t make the squad is clearly a lie. The truth is he can’t manage a big character.
Dear Roker Report,
First real test and guess what we bottle it yet again. TYPICAL.
Ed’s Note: In all honesty, I’m keen to not go too overboard with the criticism after Saturday’s defeat. Chiefly, because we were all in agreement that the team had played outstanding at Crewe on Tuesday. It’s hard to then say wholesale changes are needed in the squad and that Parky’s head deserves to be put on a spike after losing our first game.
Obviously, elements of the performance should draw concern. I suspect that Parky now wishes he could turn back time and be more sensible with his defensive selections. Luke O’Nien does a good job wherever he’s asked to play, but on Saturday it was clear why he’s never really played at centre half before. And a core of players who have been usually dependable - namely Wright, Leadbitter and Maguire - just weren’t.
These things happen. It was a bad day at the office.
The key is that we respond. Winning teams rebound from disappointment by going in twice as hard and atoning for their errors. Let’s just hope that Saturday was a minor blip, and that we can give Rochdale a ruddy good seeing to on Tuesday. It won’t be a case of papering over the cracks, but reaffirming why so many pundits have tipped us to go up.