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Two Up, Two Down: What were the biggest positives & negatives from Sunderland’s performance?

Sunderland were unable to make their one goal and one man advantage at half time count, drawing in the end against ten-man Shrewsbury. What were the biggest positives and negatives from the performance?

Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Ant Waterson says...


Pritch! The former Spurs man finally looked the player who was worth a lot of money a few years ago. He produced a lovely run and finish for our goal, and he was at the heart of most of our better play. It was great to see, and hopefully he can kick on and become a crucial player for us.

Our central midfield starters. Carl Winchester and Dan Neil linked up really well at times last night, and I would like to see that partnership continue. Neil is young and could do with a wise head next to him - Winchester can supply that, and has the genuine ability to play as a box-to-box midfielder.


That’s a poor result. We can play on it all we want, but last night’s result against a side fourth bottom and down to ten men for 45 minutes is not good enough for a side chasing promotion. The players did not look like scoring a second once Shrewsbury has equalised - it’s, quite simply, a huge two points that we’ve dropped.

Bad service to the strikers. Why all of a sudden are we resorting to pumping the ball long to Ross Stewart all the time? Big Rosscoe is very good with the ball at his feet, and the service to him in recent games has been pathetic. We must change this, and fast.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Gav says...


Alex Pritchard shows his quality. He got a decent assist at the weekend, and he added to that by scoring a very good goal in the first half - showing what he’s got in his locker if given the chance to shine. I feel like people are still waiting to see the player that was deemed worth £11m at one point, and that’s fair enough to an extent, but you have to ask yourself why it is that he finds himself playing in the third tier. Fact is, he’s not going to run every single game, particularly not at this level where the game is more physical. However, he deserves credit at least for crafting the opening and lashing his shot beyond the keeper, and that gives me hope that we’ll see more of the same going forward.

Bailey Wright played alright! Two games running now where the Aussie defender has put a canny shift in, and I’m glad, because for a while there I felt like his time here was over, and that he didn’t have a decent game left in him. I’m not saying he dominated or ran the show, but he was solid enough, and that bodes well I think. And yes, I’m scraping the barrel for positives, but that’s the point of this feature...

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images


Complete lack of urgency in the final 15 minutes. The game was quickly slipping away from us the longer it wore on, and whilst Shrewsbury were more than happy to camp inside their own box and defend, I was irritated by how slow our build-up play was in those latter stages when attempting to forge openings. Every move was the same - four or 5 sideway passes before getting the ball to the wide players, who played poor crosses into the box that were easily dealt with by the Shrewsbury defence and keeper.

Our service to Ross Stewart is almost nonexistent. And why? He’s capable of scoring goals, as we’ve seen all season, and his movement is excellent... creating chances for this player should be a piece of piss. He’s always in good positions, he’s big, and he can score all types of goals - it’s a major failing of our creative players that we cannot put the ball into areas where he can be dangerous, and that’s one of the more worrying aspects of our recent performances.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Carabao Cup - Fourth Round - Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

Joseph Tulip says...


Alex Pritchard. His great finish to open the scoring is an obvious one, but overall this was probably his best performance in a Sunderland shirt. While he is predominantly right-footed, Pritchard seemed to find space and freedom on the left side and was always a danger cutting inside.

A few other individuals excelled. Bailey Wright was more like his old commanding self, while Carl Winchester again showed what he can offer in midfield, alongside the excellent Dan Neil. Nathan Broadhead seems to ooze both quality and physical strength in possession, with clear signs that’s he will have so much more to offer this season.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images


The same old frailties let us down again. A goal and a man up at half time, and we end up having to settle for a draw. Let’s not dwell on the goal we conceded, we didn’t clear our lines but the lad turned and took his shot superbly on the half volley and deserves credit for that. There was plenty of time to recover but we didn’t do enough in possession, were sloppy at times, and our crossing was poor and wasteful.

I thought the early changes were negative. Lee Johnson opted to bring on a deep lying midfielder, with Corry Evans coming on and Carl Winchester moving to right back. This seemed to hand over the initiative to Shrewsbury, before we eventually brought on Leon Dajaku and Aiden McGeady in a bid to win the three points.


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