Did you see Sunderland’s result at Charlton as a missed opportunity?!
Sean Brown says...
It’s been a funny start to the season in my opinion, as I can’t decide if we’ve yet to face real opposition, or we’re simply too good defensively for League One.
What we are crying out for is, well, probably the most important part of the game. We need goals. We can’t seem to find a way through to the opposition net and that’s just beyond aggravating considering the apparent levels (on paper at least), and pretty extensive experience of our forward line.
Will Grigg, of all people, has looked sharper since we saw him return in those few pre-season matches, and we even had an occasion where we thought he’d been “unlocked” by a young Dan Neil, who somehow managed to put the ball exactly where Grigg has been asking for it.
Now I’ve slated William extensively and I won’t retract any of my previous statements on him as I still think he’s taken the absolute piss with his performances since signing. That being said, he and another ‘least favourite Sunderland striker’ in the returning Danny Graham, have looked like they could cause problems for opposition defenses if given enough of a chance to do so. But that’s still a big gamble isn’t it, relying on that particular strike force.
When it comes to O’Brien I feel I need to allow him more time to settle and prove himself, but he doesn’t seem to be quite the player that some Millwall fans were saying he could be at this level.
As for Charlie Wyke, well I don’t know how to say what I’m thinking without using too many expletives. So I’ll just say he’s still Charlie Wyke and that’s no good for anyone but our opponents.
So we need to rely on players like Gooch and Maguire, again, to provide the goals we need so desperately. With the former having a difficult start to the season and the latter currently injured and both prone to periods of relative inactivity and inconsistency in attack. The thing is we shouldn’t be relying on them at all. Goals are welcome from across the pitch, but you can’t say that the ultimate responsibility for putting the ball in the onion bag isn’t that of the strikers and center forwards.
I think what I’m trying to say is probably what a large volume of the fanbase will be thinking; we need goalscorers and at this point in time we don’t seem to have any.
Bailey Wright has been a defensive wall the majority of the time and he controls the area in front of our own goal wonderfully. Leadbitter is taking control of the middle of the park and I’ve been absolutely loving his recent performances and can’t praise him highly enough for the return to form we’ve witnessed. We have leaders in those areas, and we desperately need a leader up front. With a clinical finisher we can rely on, we win this match and take all three points. It’s that simple.
We can dominate possession all we like and we can stop the strikers coming at us all we like, but as we all know if we can’t convert any chances we create in our own attacks we’re still fighting that uphill battle we’ve been fighting since young Josh left, and that is just plain f***ing ridiculous at this point.
Gary Engel says...
A more controlled first-half this week from Sunderland and indeed, if we had gone in two-up at half-time it would have been a fair reflection of the game up to that point. Certainly Graham was taking up threatening positions, and when he broke through with O’Brien with just before the interval we agonisingly failed to find the net.
Although, it was probably our best half of football so far this season, there still isn’t a confidence in front of goal. Not only are the forwards lacking that cutting edge, it seems to translate to the audience, as for all Sunderland’s bluster, I was never confident I would see the Charlton net bulge during the whole ninety minutes.
That is simply what makes the difference between a hard-fought point and an inability to grab all three when we are on top for long spells. My concern now is that is a story that will repeat on a loop throughout the season.
On the plus side, we look strong at the back, and Leadbitter had another tidy performance. If we could build on that with the addition of a regular goalscorer, we would be serious contenders for automatic promotion. But the lack of goals has cost us two points at The Valley and will continue to do so if we don’t address our glaring issue very soon.
Kelvin Beattie says...
Was this a point gained or two lost? On first half performance, two lost.
With a man sent off in the second half, I would argue point gained against a team expected to be up there at the end of the season. I was a bit disappointed in Charlton, but with another clean sheet we can give the defence some credit again this week.
Even Jon Flanagan, whose passing was marginally better this week was putting in a solid performance prior to his red card and Burge remained largely untested which was testament to the organisation at the back.
Leadbitter had another steady game and is performing at a good level in front of our back three. My question really is who best to play ahead of him in the more advance positions?
I thought Graham and O’Brien worked hard, and Graham in particular was unlucky not to open his account during his second spell at the club. On the basis of their performance at The Valley, they should have done enough to earn another crack together up front.
The end product from Hume and O’Nien was also lacking today. I have no issue with their work rate down either flank, but I’d like to see more quality and end product.
Gooch’s contribution to the game was primarily in his effort to keep us tight out of possession, but we all know he has something else to offer and this will come given time on the pitch.
Scowen continues to provide good moments and a bit of quality on the ball. I would like to see him push through until the final whistle, despite our sending off he seemed to disappear from the game when we probably needed him most.
Wyke’s introduction really changed nothing. He is possibly too anxious to do well as he keeps fouling defenders giving them easy exit free kicks. Grigg looks leaner and fitter. The red card saw him re-positioned to the right hand side, where he also did little wrong in terms of his defensive duties.
I like many others was shocked to see the double substitution from Parkinson. I applaud his attempt to freshen the game up, but would have been more inclined to give Diamond a run out.
We move on, unbeaten, but not free scoring.