Michael Dunne says...
The first half was genuinely one of the best halves of football I have seen us play in years. It was aggressive, passionate and intense. It is what you want from a Sunderland team all the time and it was really great to see.
At half time, I only saw one winner. Lincoln couldn’t cope with us and it was all going our way.
I was particularly shocked by how insipid the second half was from us. It was like chalk and cheese. I acknowledged that Lincoln upped their game and displayed a marked improvement on the first half, but why did we become so nervous and edgy? It was as if we could not believe the position we got ourselves into.
It was disappointing how we faltered but over the two legs, you can have no complaints. Lincoln deserved to go through and we are left licking our wounds.
This season has been extremely underwhelming. Lee Johnson struggled to find a system of play that could get us some results when our form dipped. He has shown enough to warrant our backing and any talk of him being sacked is frankly outrageous in my eyes.
Whilst I am ultimately happy with him as our manager, he will have some big decisions to make, and ensure they are the right ones.
With a blend of some hopeful youth players and more experienced ones that warrant keeping, hopefully we can go one step further next season.
After a bonkers season, I need a break, but I’m already excited for next season.
Gary Engel says...
I put my neck on the line a few months ago, believing Sunderland were on course for promotion - automatic or otherwise. That optimism was not only based on our form at that point, but who we were expecting to return from injury in time for the run-in. As demonstrated in the first-leg, the returns of Denver Hume and Jordan Jones to the side have not been all that successful - and let’s not even mention Tom Flanagan...
Well, the first-half performance at the Stadium - that had everyone buzzing, and we saw just the kind of intensity I thought we could be capable of when I made my prediction.
However, such has been our woeful form recently and inability to keep a clean sheet, I was not getting too excited. I knew it was inevitable that we would let our guard down and Lincoln off the hook - so we did.
We have fallen away in disastrous fashion, we looked uninterested in the first-leg and Lincoln showed just how much they wanted it.
It isn’t just about skill, ability or stats, but also character. Sunderland showed very little in the last dozen matches and got what they deserved for that. We fans deserve better, like a team built around proud values fighting to the end.
Tom Albrighton says...
I thought the second leg was a mirror of our first season in League One - a strong start followed by a lacklustre second half was typically Sunderland.
Although now isn’t the time to dig individual players out, the first half showcased the best of what they have, with the second showcasing exactly why a majority of these players have spent their careers in this hellscape of a division.
Selfishness, a lack of awareness, general stupidity and an inability to read the game, alongside others going completely missing only served to sum up why, yet again, Sunderland are set to play another season in League One.
People say it’s the hope they can’t stand, but for me it’s the only thing that keeps me coming back, because a majority of this side isn’t.
Kelvin Beattie says...
I wanted to see a strong, committed performance, with a bit of passion thrown in as well. I doubt anybody would argue that we got that in the first half. My fear at half time was: could those energy levels be maintained in the 2nd half? The energy was not maintained, we started hitting long hopeful balls and played McGeady & Leadbitter out of the game.
The first half was a great example of why folk generally go to the football and why Sunderland fans turn up in numbers, hoping for a display like the first 45 minutes on Saturday. The second half was disappointing, infuriating at times, and ultimately ended a feeling of crushing inevitability.
Give Lincoln a little credit - as our energy levels dropped, their revised tactics and confidence grew. Importantly for them, it quietened the support too, as the inevitability of the situation cramped our nerves and vocal cords.
It is a unique kind of hurt that this kind of failure brings to football fans generally and Sunderland fans far too regularly in the last 30 years. Thankfully relief is only the next game away.
Bring it on.
I like many other Sunderland fans will be back for more pain on the off chance of some glory thrown in.
Looking forward, there are, for me, reasons to be hopeful.
The backroom and ownership are making the right noises and some thoughtful moves. The contract situation with a number of first-teamers gives us a further opportunity to re-shape and re-build the squad. The very welcome news about the importance and focus on Academy players is long overdue, and very welcome.
I like many will need a break - this unique season in many respects has been draining.
Let's re-charge our batteries and look forward.