Gary Engel says...
We coped without Geads...
We stopped the rot, and without McGeady proving we can play a bit without our Irish magician. First-half we looked back to our best causing Hull problems with slick passing and the high press. When playing like that not even Hull can keep us at bay. While Gooch certainly looked up for the match in the first 45, his work and energy creating both goals.
We showed we’re good enough to hang with the table-toppers...
Johnson set his side up in the first-half to put on a display to send a bit of a message to other sides in the division. When we consider two or three big players for us, including Jones are not fully fit, as displayed as he became less effective in the second-half, then we can still expect improvement in the final weeks.
The warning signs were there all through the match that McFadzean was out of his depth and not quick enough to control the onslaught from Hull’s right flank. But then, Bailey Wright isn’t up to speed either.
We are crying out for Hume to return to full fitness, sooner rather than later.
Hull highlighted our deficiencies
We can play reasonable stuff when we’re on our game. But Hull looked dangerous every time they ventured forward. They have the physicality, swagger and pace that we appear to still lack in many areas. For the most part we get away with it but it is so obviously highlighted when we play those kinds of teams.
Philip West says...
A much livelier performance...
Was it borne out of defiance? Did the players cut loose because they felt the pressure was off?
Whatever the reasons behind it, this was a much more energetic and promising performance than we’ve seen for quite some time. There was an excellent level of commitment on display, and the aggression in our pressing, led by Josh Scowen, was superb.
Quite how we managed to mess up the previous three games so badly, on the evidence of what we saw tonight, is perplexing. This made the performance slightly frustrating: clearly it was there all along, but perhaps it emerged only because we felt there was little left to play for, save for trying to build some momentum ahead of the play-offs.
Jordan Jones rediscovers his form...
The on-loan Rangers man had definitely experienced something of a dip in form in recent weeks, but was back to somewhere near his elusive, dangerous best against Hull.
His goal displayed excellent technique and composure, and he was a threat all evening, constantly looking to make things happen whenever he got the ball. Consistency will be needed if Jones returns to Sunderland either on loan or permanently next season, but if he can add that to his game, he’s got the capacity to become a hugely important player next season.
Criticising McFadzean is becoming as integral to the Sunderland matchday experience as photographs of pink slices and the inevitably forthright reaction when the team is announced, but it is simply impossible to overlook what is a glaring weakness in the team.
Against Hull, McFadzean endured a nightmare against a rampant Mallik Wilks (think Stewart Downing destroying Greg Halford at the Riverside all those years ago) and it simply provided further proof that, despite his best efforts, he simply doesn’t possess any of the qualities required at this level.
Denver Hume has many critics, but I firmly believe that, fitness permitting, it is time for him to be given a starting berth. Lee Johnson is making things far harder than necessary by continuing to overlook him.
Two crucial points dropped...
Ultimately, that was the story of this game. Take the lead, concede an equaliser, pull ahead again (Leadbitter’s penalty was ice-cool, another supreme spot-kick) and then get pegged back once more.
With Peterborough losing, seeing this game out and collecting the three points would’ve breathed new life into what appeared to be a futile automatic promotion bid. As it was, we had to settle for a point, and surely the time has come to gear ourselves up for a second playoff run in three seasons.
Not ideal, not where we wanted to be, but in reality, probably all we deserve. Sunderland’s form has deserted them at precisely the wrong time, and with other teams looking stronger, our nerves are sure to be tested even more before the season finishes.
Michael Dunne says...
After three underwhelming performances, some more so than others, it was a bit of a relief to see a positive attacking performance. Sunderland set the tempo from the start and it was their just rewards to get their early goal.
They threatened throughout and we were probably unlucky not to get the winning goal at the end. If we can build on this until the end of the season, we will be in good form going to the play offs.
The 4-3-3 formation seemed to suit the team tonight. With Gooch and Jones, there was natural width and the middle three of Winchester, Leadbitter and Scowen impressed overall. Maybe this is what we should continue with this until the end of the season?
Shaky at the back...
It was not a convincing defensive performance from anyone really in the back four. It looked fairly shaky throughout and it was probably a bit of a surprise that we only conceded the two considering the chances Hull had.
Bailey Wright looks out of sorts fitness-wise and there’s nothing more I can add about Callum McFadzean. At this stage, I feel sorry for the lad as he just seems out of his depth. There must have been worries over Denver Hume’s fitness for him not to be starting.
This is what worries me until the end of the season. It could be what lets us down.
Hopefully it won’t.
Surprise surprise, Another awful performance to add to the list of ridiculously poor officiating this season. Some of it was actually tragic and akin to a student teacher trying to control a rowdy classroom of lads. The referee had no control over the match and really looked out of his depth.
Malcolm Dugdale says...
On the front foot...
We led the game twice, hit the woodwork many times and were the team pressing for the winner to the death. We haven’t seen that for some time, and despite not getting all three points, the need for a confidence-building performance was met with interest, given the opposition was top of the table Hull.
Gooch on form...
Without our talisman winger we were very good, and other players stepped up to be counted with their offensive displays. With a killer cross for Jones and in winning the penalty, Gooch returned to some of his best form for a while and it was great to see the academy lad really tear it up again with two assists.
Our weakest link... again
If Hume can last an hour use him for that, and if needs be play with ten men for 30 minutes. It will be less damaging to the team. I don’t want to see him wear the shirt again.
It is clear that we have rushed Bailey Wright back as he is a shadow of the player he was at his peak. We need to consider how we can get him back to full speed, which may require the likes of Younger to come back into the fold. His defensive dominance could be a game-changer in the play-offs so let’s help him help us.