Joseph Tulip says...
Changing it up...
A comeback inspired by a change of approach and a raft of substitutions in the second half.
Lee Johnson accepted his Plan A simply wasn’t working, changed the formation and introduced Chris Maguire, Jordan Jones and Jack Diamond, who all made a big impact, with Jones and Diamond scoring superb strikes which will both be contenders for goal of the season.
Return of the “King”...
A player who has been key to our recent campaigns has found himself on the fringes under Lee Johnson, but Maguire once again showed why he has been a big game player for us so many times over the past three years.
Not only did he score a wonderstrike, Maguire made a series of deadly deliveries from set pieces which could easily have led to a winning goal.
It was distressing to see Grant Leadbitter in such pain just a couple of minutes after entering the field as a second half substitute. We can only hope the injury is not as bad as it looked and that our likeable homegrown midfielder will be back in action soon.
He may be 35, but Leadbitter’s ball playing ability and experience is something will will miss if he’s out for some time.
First half display...
Crewe closed us down and set out to give our most creative players, McGeady and Gooch, very little space to nullify their threat. Our makeshift defence looked vulnerable with McFadzean again culpable.
Scowen was anonymous in midfield and Power seemed to lack his usual tenacity. Perhaps his missed the calming influence of Leadbitter alongside him.
Nevertheless, it’s a day to praise the Lads for their second half comeback, give Lee Johnson time to consider resting some tired limbs, and get ready for Swindon on Tuesday night.
Kelvin Beattie says...
Quality when it mattered...
Two quality goals in a spirited last 15 minutes where Jones just edged man of the match in my book with a goal to grace any game. He also made some searing runs down his wing that put a Crewe defence on their heels and stepping back having looked confident and competent up to that point.
Maguire’s goal was right out of his locker and looked inevitable from the moment he picked the ball up, even though he still had a lot to do. He also pinged over three cracking crosses that on any other day might have been despatched.
Credit to Lee Johnson for changing the personnel when he did. Jones and Maguire rescued a point that never looked likely.
Diamond looked lively without necessarily doing much, his pace added to the feeling that our whole game had just gone into overdrive as Crewe backed off for the first time in the game.
Winchester almost headed an undeserved winner right at the death. Johnson is not going to die wondering is he?!
The late late show...
Where on earth were we for 70 minutes? Crewe were one of the more attractive and competent teams I have seen this season, but we were bordering on abysmal.
Slow and wasteful till the substitutions, I had O’Nien and Sanderson on a 5 or a 6 and most of the rest on 4!! Was it the formation? Or collective fatigue?
Perhaps along with the opposition it was all of these. It was worrying and with the next game hurrying toward us, requires swift evaluation and action!
Off day for some...
McGeady and Gooch looked well out of touch on the day. Hopefully just a blip as I believe both have key roles to play if we are to have any success this season.
Wyke too looked leggy and back to his more ponderous self as balls bounced off him and past him for 70 minutes.
The injury to Leadbitter is for me a blow. He can definitely do a job for us in controlling games and maintaining possession when required.
Of most concern to me was the left hand side of defence, McFadzean had a hand in both Crewe goals and did not distinguish himself at all with his passing and forward play. Connor McLaughlin is not the answer on the left but did I hear that Hume is back on the training paddock?
I credit us with a spirited comeback and gratefully accept a point that looked highly unlikely on 69 minutes.
Malcolm Dugdale says...
A good point...
A point away from home against a team with one of the best home records is not to be sniffed at, and keeps the tally ticking over.
We knew that with Johnson’s approach we would have games where we may lose and we didn’t do that.
Did we deserve a point? Possibly not, but the only stat that matters after the match is the goals and we did enough (only just) to head home with something.
The subs made by Johnson were a bold and welcome reaction to the very poor first half. It’s refreshing to see a coach who will make wholesale changes to try and get something from a game.
Too many times in the past managers like Parkinson and Ross would have reacted too late and we probably would have lost that by 3 or 4 goals, but we didn’t.
The injection of the subs and the game changing contributions from Jones and Maguire were inspired and prevent the morale from taking a hit it doesn’t need right now.
Got it wrong...
The coach got the tactics and formation very wrong for me, for the first time since his tenure started late last year.
Crewe had way too much space and time in the midfield and our defence looked like we had a man less than Crewe, always seeming a couple of yards off the pace (apart from a couple of times Sanderson saved our blushes).
I am sure Johnson will learn from this, and with yet another injury to a senior player in Grant, his options are going to be reduced. Just like the loss of Wright and Willis, this is an opportunity for others to step up and take the shirt, so hopefully Winchester or Neil can get a run now and do well.
Could we have nicked it...?
Even though we came away with a point, we could well have committed daylight robbery and nicked that game if our attacking had been better executed.
On a number of occasions we didn’t convert decent chances (O’Nien’s header from a Maguire cross probably the best one) and three points this week would have been very useful, especially with Lincoln losing.
Hull and Posh both won, the latter quite fortunately looking at the highlights, so we need to get back to winning ways mid week to continue to build for a top two slot.
Gary Engel says...
The race for the play-offs (or the automatic places) might not be secured with draws, but they are quite often built on those games where you take a point at the death after coming back from two down with 15 minutes left.
This game reminded me of our two-all draw at Walsall a couple of seasons back, only even more dramatic. If Jones’ goal was brilliant, Maguire’s equaliser was simply outrageous! A great, hard fought point won virtually with the last kick.
Many Sunderland fans know even just a few weeks ago that match would have been a 2-0 defeat. Our confidence and belief has grown since then.
Unlike previous managers, Johnson is not afraid to make changes. The substitutions by Lee Johnson to turn the tide were inspired. Everyone is looking to raise their game, and with players like Jones in reserve we should have an edge in the final weeks.
The injury to Leadbitter is a concern, he has been one of our most consistent players over the course of the season.
It’s clear he has been over used and not rested when he should have been. But his cool head in the final weeks could be all-important.
It was another game where I felt Burge could have done a little better for at least one of Crewe’s two goals.
If it wasn’t for Sanderson’s recovery we could have been three down with the match out of sight by half-time. It is still early days for for our reshuffled back line but we can expect even harder tests in the coming weeks. We have work and communicate as a unit.