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Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League 1

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2 Up, 2 Down: Can we glean any positives from the Charlton defeat?

The consensus from our panel is... Gooch coming back good, referee bad! Plus there are plenty more hot takes in today’s roundtable feature.

Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Joseph Tulip says...

Two Up!

Nothing went in our favour and even after a hotly contested Charlton goal, our heads never dropped. Despite lacking quality in the final third, our effort and commitment could not be faulted as we battled until the 96th minute for an equaliser which unfortunately remained elusive.

The return of Linden Gooch was a welcome sight. He looked sharp after coming off the bench and while things didn’t go our way in this match, a fully fit Gooch will have a key role to play as we reach a crucial point in our season.

Two Down!

We needed to be very wary of the ‘new manager bounce’ at Charlton. I’m sure we were, but still allowed them to set the tone for the afternoon ahead by unsettling our back four with a prominent high press right from the off, which led to a series of corners. This was effective for the visitors as it stopped us from gaining any momentum or getting our passing going until the last 15 minutes of the first half. That said, Nigel Atkins must be scratching his head wondering where Charlton’s physical and committed performance came from after their poor season so far led to his dismissal just 48 hours earlier.

Aiden O’Brien had a poor game but his strengths are his work rate, height and physicality, rather than his quality in possession. I feel as though O’Brien is out of place on the right side of a front three and is better suited through the middle. With things not going our way I’d have changed to a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2 in the second half with O’Brien as a second striker to support Ross Stewart, who ran his socks off all afternoon with very little to work with.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says...

Two Up!

Players returning to fitness is always a welcome sight so seeing Lynden Gooch and Corry Evans return was a welcome sight. Both players will feature heavily over the next few weeks should they regain full fitness and both will be key figures as Sunderland look to build momentum again

Erm, that’s it, I can only think of one.

[Ed’s note... ha’way man!!!]

Two Down!

A potentially unpopular one - but the Luke O’Nien midfield experiment has to end. I’ve been sceptical about his role in the centre of the park and on Saturday that was confirmed in what was comfortably his worst performance in a Sunderland shirt. Now a regular in midfield - in my opinion, he is also the weakest player in that selection.

For all O’Nien is a consummate professional and gives his all, his quality is lacking and on the back of that performance is likely to become a target for many teams

Saturday’s refereeing performance was comfortably the single worst I’ve ever seen at the Stadium of Light. An abysmal performance in which fouls weren’t awarded and offsides didn’t exist eventually played out to the predictable end.

If anything summarised how awful the referee was, it was Colin Murray on Quests EFL show pointing out that the reel of ’contentious’ decisions which included a clear red card, a clear foul which led to a goal and a clear penalty was not the entirety of refereeing blunders on show. If you’re having to selectively choose which refereeing errors you show because there are so many, it suggests maybe the officials in question aren’t fit for their roles.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kelvin Beattie says...

Two Up!

The return of key players from injury was a bonus on an almost predictable day. Whilst Gooch and DJack looked lively, I was most pleased to see Evans back on the paddock.

I had a great crack on the way home, on the bus, with two chaps who randomly were at the end of season game as me in 68/69 at St James, when Man City won the league courtesy of a 4-3 win and a 2-1 win by Sunderland at Old Trafford, where Hurley and Todd were in boisterous defensive form, Porterfield cantered the game and Suggett & Herd scored two good team goals….woops I digress.

[Ed’s note... that’s more like it!!!]

Two Down!

For whatever reason, our silky football was missing yesterday. With a number of players, not quite at it and Charlton right at, there was a distant air of inevitability, after 5 minutes clawing away at my gut.

It is very easy to blame the referee on these occasions, we were not good on the day and we need to front that up. However, there was absolutely no need for Darren Drysdale to join us in one of the worst displays (and let's be honest there have been a few) of officiating I have witnessed on a football pitch.

He missed amongst many errors a headbutt on Tom Flanagan …..(maybe he does not like to think about head butts after his faux pas with Alan Judge), as well as what looked like a foul leading up to their goal and a handball by a Charlton defender in their box. He was dreadful and will not enjoy the replay of this game.

A tough day for the fans, who were generally supportive at the end of the game. We need to hold our nerve and play our part too.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Two Up!

We battled on even when the game wasn’t ours to drive and own. In the last 15 minutes the team didn’t give up, and the crowd respected and applauded that, though I do think the fans were quieter than I expected throughout. That battle is a quality we need more, including when winning and needing to kill a game off.

The back four and the keeper played pretty well when at times we struggled to keep the opposition out of our half and were peppered with corners (their right winger was decent, and Cirkin had a real challenge containing him). If not for bad decisions by the officials, we would have got more from the game.

Two Down!

It is time for both McGeady and O’Nien to be rotated out of the team. No question. Yes, the ref was poor but O’Nien was bullied out of the game and was very ineffective in all ways. With Evans returning we thankfully have options. Whether we find another role for Luke remains to be seen.

Geads wasn’t bullied, he was just downright poor. Several times he was one on one right in front of me on the right side touchline, faced with a centre back out wide, and he didn’t even have a go at taking his oppo on one time. Not once. Way more than once he then gave away the ball. We cannot go back to sidewards passes and a lack of penetration and ball retention. That was the old us. Impact sub only for Geads ongoing please Johnno. Let Dajaku and Gooch have a spell.

The officials were an embarrassment to the world of association football, and though the Charlton fans were a credit to their club all game singing their hearts out, the players were as low in terms of tactics and time-wasting as the likes of Wycombe in the past. Today was a perfect storm of poor officials and well-applied shithousing combined with a poor show from us.

Our first bad day at the office at home. Hopefully the last for some time.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Stadium Of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Andy’s Player Ratings: Cambridge United 1-2 Sunderland - Massive three points for Johnson’s men!

FEATURES!

On This Day (27 Nov 1949): Happy Birthday to former Sunderland star Dennis Tueart - 72 today!

MATCH PREVIEWS!

Score Predictions: Can Sunderland go one better than they did in midweek?