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Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Dire, gutless, spineless - a horror show in Lancashire

Sunderland were utter dross at Bolton, so where the hell to we go from here?

Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

They say that teams who get promoted have a strong mentality which gets them through sticky spells of the season.

Rotherham and Wigan have shown this in abundance this season, and this has kept them plugging away at the top of the division.

They have both gone to Bolton and won this season, and our visit to the ground formerly known as the Reebok had Sunderland fans hoping we could do the same.

Yet the thing is, we do not have this strong mentality. We’ve rolled over and died on many occasions this season, but losing 6-0 away at a mid-table side with 5,000 travelling fans in support is absolutely pathetic.

Bolton were lying in the bottom half of the league heading into this one, but we made them look like Real Madrid.

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Teams who get promoted don’t get battered often. They certainly don’t get battered on multiple occasions in the easy manner that we have.

Losing 6-0 to any team in any division is poor, but getting battered by that scoreline in this division is absolutely atrocious.

We might have players with good ability, but what we sorely lack is players with guile. We have a soft underbelly which is being pierced on a worryingly regular basis.

One frustration from these heavy results is that they have come in matches where we have opted for four at the back. It’s a running theme that we for some reason get overwhelmed when we don’t play with the three centre backs.

We have centre halves in the squad, but when one of these players is Tom Flanagan the question is is playing five at the back worth it? I would say so, because each time we’ve lined up with the four at the back and lost, we’ve not just lost; we’ve been battered.

This team usually ruins your weekend, this is something we should be used to by now, but when people say this is potentially the worst result in our history, they’ve got a strong point.

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Bolton are not a promotion rival, they may not even finish in the top half, yet this hasn’t stopped us from not laying a finger on them.

With teams around us picking up points without playing well and others having games in hand, it is imperative that we keep the pressure on. Yet, unfortunately, keeping the pressure on our promotion rivals is something we’ve never been able to achieve in four years in League One.

We were utter dross at Bolton, every player should hang their heads in shame at being part of a result which shows a lack of fight, passion, and an ounce of any of them giving a s*it.

The race for the top two is slipping through our fingers at an alarming rate. The way we are losing games to bog standard sides by such big margins is a real concern but with only days left in the transfer window, it feels unlikely much will be done to change this.

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

For Sunderland fans, it is often said it’s the hope that kills us. 5,000 fans made the trip to Lancashire yesterday and paid hard-earned money to get there.

They were treated to a shit show of the highest order, on yet another away day to forget in this division.

It is always the fans who suffer the most when football clubs struggle, but for three years (the covid season aside) we have sold out third division away ends across the country, with little joy.

A 6-0 down at Bolton would have made for a long trip home, but it is hopefully one which our players take note of and finally start appreciating our support for what it is; fantastic.

The fans, like on many Sunderland AFC match days, were a lone bright moment. We have a major task ahead of us and from now until the end of April these players will have the chance to right the wrongs from away days like Bolton


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