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Talking Points: Gritty result sees Sunderland find confidence boost

It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but Sunderland found a way to salvage a draw against high-flying Fleetwood. Here are some talking points from last night’s game.

Sunderland v Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Lukewarm performance, but gritty result

Throughout last night’s game, Sunderland dominated proceedings but struggled to fashion genuine, clear-cut opportunities. The Lads managed 16 attempts on goal, with only 3 on target and held a whopping 64% of the possession.

Truthfully, the Lads’ inability to punish Fleetwood was somewhat frustrating, and the lack of clinicality might well have Phil Parkinson considering a couple of changes to his team in order to freshen things up.

That being said, despite a tough evening, Parky’s men found a way to get back into the game and salvage a draw, and that is in itself a huge positive.

Successful sides find ways of picking up points, and last night Sunderland did just that. The Lads themselves will likely be ticked off that they couldn’t pick up three points, but there will be a confidence boost from the fact that the team edged out a gritty draw.

Sunderland v Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Will Parkinson be tempted to tinker?

I don’t think many Sunderland players necessarily did much wrong last night. A lapse in concentration gave the visitors an early lead which they proceeded to try and protect at all costs, while Parkinson’s men struggled to test the opposition’s keeper.

These kind of frustrating nights come along every now and then, but it will be interesting to see if Parkinson decides to tinker with his team slightly after last night.

Kyle Lafferty looked fired up when he came on last night as Antoine Semenyo showed glimpses of his quality - Duncan Watmore was also involved in Sunderland’s equaliser, too.

It’s good to have options, and right now Parkinson has a few that he can opt for should he think the side needs freshening up.

I have a feeling that Parkinson will stick to his guns, but it will be interesting to see if the boss gives a couple of players a rest ahead of this Sunday’s big fixture away to Coventry City... in Birmingham.

Sunderland v Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Momentum

There’s a small part of me that wonders if, come Sunday evening, we will look back at this result and herald its importance.

Sunderland’s football at times was lovely to watch last night, but, as already noted, the team lacked a cutting edge. The team will move on from this draw with items to improve on the training pitch as well as a sense that there is something special about this group of players who have overcome a lot of adversity already this season to challenge for automatic promotion.

Sunderland’s late equaliser might well prove to be a catalyst for yet another surge in results. The Lads will now know that they’re not untouchable, but will be both fired up for this weekend’s game, and confident in the knowledge that this side is capable of pulling the odd rabbit out of the hat.

Could this draw be key in our search for promotion?