Philip West says...
Dan Neil’s performance was superb. Every time he got on the ball he was seeking to play incisive passes and keep the team on the front foot. He’s making a very strong case to be a first-team regular this season, and he’s brought some much-needed spark to our midfield, which was previously an area of major weakness.
Alex Pritchard and Nathan Broadhead both made positive impressions when they came on. Neither of them were afraid to shoot, and indeed, Broadhead nearly marked his debut with what would’ve been a superb goal! Hopefully, he can be the kind of predatory, pacy forward that can add a different dimension to our attack, and Pritchard might be an ideal replacement for Aiden McGeady if Lee Johnson chooses to switch things around for the next game.
The failure to convert any one of the countless chances we created during the game was deeply frustrating. Time and time again, we got into good attacking positions and were either thwarted by a good save or a poor finish. Aiden McGeady’s chip in the first half was poorly judged, and had he slotted the ball home the dynamic of the game might have changed. Miss your chances, and more often than not, you’ll pay the price.
Lynden Gooch turned in another one of his ‘hot and cold’ performances, for which he has become renowned. The American is undoubtedly an attacking weapon when on form, and does look well-suited to Johnson’s style of play, but against Burton he was erratic and his decision-making wasn’t as sharp as it could’ve been. For all of his ability, he often frustrates, and tonight was one of those occasions.
Kelvin Beattie says...
Our overall performance. While our winning run has ended, I think there was quite a bit to be pleased about in that performance tonight. The ball was being moved crisply and sweetly around the park at times. We created numerous good chances and another night could have been three goals up by halftime. Pritchard got more game time and looked smooth and precise on the ball.
Apart from almost rescuing a point for us, I thought Flano had another good game defensively. I have not been his biggest fan to date, but I might need to change my mind if this level of performance continues. Special mention for Dan Neil, too, who had some exquisite touches tonight.
The knock-on effect. Having created numerous chances but failed to convert any (goal chalked off right at the death notwithstanding), it could be a nervy crowd on Saturday at the SOL, till that first goal is hopefully scored.
The officials for tonight's game did not have a great night. The referee made a number of errors and of course, went with his lines-person for the goal we thought we had scored at the death. The standard of officiating is what it is in EFL league 1… generally poor!
So we move on to Saturday. Fair play to Burton, who fought hard throughout.
Gary Engel says...
We were the better side throughout the match and kept plugging away until the death. That may be a good sign that could stand us in good stead for the season ahead, maybe... it felt almost reminiscent of the Keane era, and certainly if the last-minute goal had stood we wouldn’t be feeling so deflated.
Young blood has given us a new lease of life in some areas. Neil certainly has vision and must have watched Lee Cattermole over the years turn on the ball with his first couple of touches. The goal came from the left-hand side of the pitch, but after Cirkin’s shift tonight it is hard to see Denver Hume putting the former Spurs lad under that much pressure for his place (if Hume does resign).
We see the change in style this season, the emphasis of playing the ball neatly through the middle and slicing teams open. Great when it works, but tonight was a very frustrating night for Sunderland, and it felt just like watching us in matches last season. The game away at Wigan last year had a similar theme, lively Sunderland start, plenty of bluster but no end product. Then, low and behold, the home side score and Sunderland have can’t take anything from the match... a bit like Groundhog day.
Finally, we’re creating chances and although tonight is our first defeat of the season, we are just reminded that so far we don’t look exactly prolific in front of goal. Sure, Ross Stewart’s all-round game is streets ahead of Charlie Wyke’s, but does Stewart have 30 goals in him? We need a reaction at the weekend and to see some chances flying in!