Well, have you got your breath back yet?
After an action-packed, spiky, pulsating game at the KCOM Stadium, we get a draw. It’s a result we have to take but leaves you feeling this automatic promotion has just got away from us.
Don’t get me wrong, a point against the team top of the table would normally be something to be celebrated, but it’s too many draws that have stopped our promotion charge again this season.
A quick look down the league table sees Sunderland have 15 draws from 42 matches. Way more than any other team in the top half, and only Shrewsbury – battling relegation – come close. Even in our winning run through February and March, there were one or two draws that really stopped the momentum.
Against Hull, it felt like really a carbon copy of a lot of those summed up in one game. We played well in spells, poorly in spells as well. We got overrun at times but had some decent chances. Ultimately though, we didn’t quite have enough to get over the line.
You can analyse football in great detail. About possession, corners, shots on target, expected goals, and a whole load of other things, but ultimately the ability to find a way to win the game is the most important thing you can have. We haven’t done it quite enough his season.
Too often, we lacked composure, and the final chance went begging. Admittedly against Hull last night, luck played its part. The last-minute headers from Aiden O’Brien – one against the post and one that the keeper saved – could have won it for us. There was the header from Jordan Jones off the bar in the first 45 and one or two other ‘nearly’ moments... as there has been so often this season.
Goals win games, however, and with the exception of Charlie Wyke, we haven’t got enough players to change those ‘nearly’ chances into goals and turn those draws into the wins that will seal our promotion.
In fact, you could go back to the Jack Ross spell and find it was the same story that season.
Only five losses in the whole campaign should have seen us promoted. Instead, too many bore-draws that season stopped us going up and meant we faced the dreaded play-offs.
We still have the opportunity this year with said play-offs, but if we want to claim our place in the Championship, we have to shake off the tag of ‘nearly’ men.