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2 Up, 2 Down: The good and the bad from Sunderland’s victory over Shrewsbury Town (Part 1)

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A win is a win and we were in vital need of those three points but were there any other positives to take as well as any downside to our narrow win over Shrewsbury Town? Let us know if you agree with part one of 2 Up, 2 Down!

Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images


Chris Camm says...

Two Up

1. Pressing game...

Well if there was a ever a game made for two up two down its probably this one.

For the first 45 minutes Sunderland showed all of the application and desire that was sorely missing earlier in the week against Plymouth. This meant great energy levels on display across the team, particularly from Scowen in midfield who I thought stood out for the right reasons for a change.

Out of possession the whole team pressed Shrewsbury and forced turnovers in good areas, this allowed us to enjoy quality possession for long spells of the first half.

2. Clean sheet...

I’ll get on to the second half performance later because it lead to us spending most of that period pinned in our own half. However, the positive we can take from this is we actually defended well enough throughout that period.

We limited our opponents to a few half chances and once Lee Johnson introduced Winchester to bolster our midfield we were able to take the sting out of the game, and although it was laboured, we succeeded in our task of keeping the clean sheet and crucially winning three points. I have no doubt that under Parkinson this game would have ended 1-1

Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One
Bailey Wright and Sunderland kept a clean sheet to earn all three points against Shrewsbury Town
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Two Down

1. Second half performance...

Now about that second half.

I am happy with the result and the fact our defenders kept Shrewsbury at bay, however, I am under no illusions that if we perform as we did in that second half throughout the rest of the season, promotion will be even further off the table than it is already.

For some reason the lads decided to do away with keeping the ball and it didn’t feel like we could string together more than three passes before giving it away cheaply or simply launching it towards the vague direction of Wyke.

2. Quality in the final third...

We seem to have no quality or perhaps, no confidence. Our final ball has been a huge pain point for months (nay, years) now and it looks like it’s going to stay that way because our players don’t seem to be inventive enough for us to see an improvement.

I don’t mean that in terms of effort but in terms of actually attempting to play those splitting final balls. In the first half of today’s game you could see a few attempted by the likes of O’Brien, McGeady and Leadbitter but they didn’t come off and resulted in us turning the ball over.

Thing is, I’m sure the manager would be absolutely fine with those passes not connecting as long as he can see the ambition and bravery from our forwards to keep trying because if keep trying those sorts of balls you will eventually be rewarded.

They aren’t going to complete those passes every time otherwise they wouldn’t be playing in league one. What they can do something about though is to keep their heads up and not let a errant pass stop them from being brave and making things happen for us.

Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One
Aiden McGeady in action for Sunderland against Shrewsbury Town
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Joseph Tulip says...

Two Up

1. First half performance...

The first half was a clear sign that Lee Johnson was making his mark at Sunderland. On the front foot from the off, we attacked down the flanks with McGeady and Diamond, two players overlooked by Phil Parkinson, at the heart of it.

2. Charlie Wyke...

It was vital that Charlie Wyke scored quickly after his recent hat-trick to prove it wasn’t a flash in the pan. Wyke scored a terrific header and perhaps should have scored a second when he rounded the keeper. Wyke worked hard during a good afternoon for the former Bradford man.

Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One
Charlie Wyke heads home the winning goal for Sunderland against Shrewsbury Town
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Two Down

1. Second half performance...

1. We never got going in the second half and yet again struggled to kill off the game. Better finishing from Shrewsbury could have cost us vital points.

2. Switching wingers...

Another decision by Lee Johnson to switch his wide men at half time. Diamond and McGeady weren’t the same after the break and this unnecessary change had an unsettling impact upon the team.