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Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: “Sunderland come up short against Blackburn Rovers”

The Lads were beaten 2-0 at Ewood Park on Tuesday, thanks to a combination of poor officiating and a lack of cutting edge. What did our panel make of the game?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jon Guy says...

The form of Dennis Cirkin

Cirkin is looking better every game.

He’s made a real difference in the last two matches, his current role suits him, and he’s going to be a big player for us if we can keep him fit.

Positive signs from Abdoullah Ba

He has to be pushing for a start.

He looks good on the ball, he wins his fair share of challenges, and I think he deserves a start on Saturday.

Poor officiating

Two decisions have cost us once again.

The penalty was blatant, and the more you see of the second goal the more it looks offside!

Sunderland’s set pieces

Our decisions for free kicks and delivery at corners was pretty shocking.

I appreciate that we are missing two big strikers in Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms, but the quality of the balls in simply wastes the opportunities these set pieces provide.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Ewood Park Photo by Isaac Parkin/PA Images via Getty Images

Ant Waterson says...

Dennis Cirkin

A silly free kick aside, Cirkin was superb, both when bombing up the wings and defending.

The lad keeps improving and is looking like a Premier League player in the making.

Substitutes making a difference

Abdoullah Ba and Jewison Bennette shone when they came on and must be pushing for start on Saturday.

Elliot Embleton and Alex Pritchard may need a rest, and I would be championing Ba and Bennette to come in and make a difference.

The ref

How is Craig Pawson a Premier League referee?

The man is an absolute liability. Everyone could see that the foul on Clarke was a clear penalty and it cost us. He wasn’t helped by his linesman for the second goal but Pawson really just needs to give up football. A terrible performance that spoiled a good game.

Cutting edge

Not having a striker is becoming slightly irritating.

A couple of times we have played some excellent balls into the box, but we don’t have anyone to get on the end of them. We do need Ellis Simms and Ross Stewart back soon, but we also needed to back ourselves to shoot.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Kelvin Beattie says...

Away the Lads!

I know it has been said before, but what phenomenal away support we have.

Over 3,000 on a midweek night and they were behind the Lads from start to finish.

Second half fightback

Without playing badly, we found ourselves two debatable goals down and needed a response.

With fourteen shots and four on target, there was no shortage of effort and skill, and on another night, a performance like that would yield results.

Penalty, Mr Pawson?

What a shocking decision from referee Craig Pawson.

It looked like a penalty in real time, the replays confirmed it, and Blackburn’s goal simply rubbed salt in the wound.

Blink and the linesman missed it

TV replays confirmed that the second goal was offside, with the linesman looking straight along the line.

Somebody will say those decisions even themselves out as the season progresses, but you can stick that opinion tonight!

On to Saturday and Burnley.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Ian Bendelow says...

Sunderland never looked out of it

It’s easy to say that Blackburn were always going to sit in and allow us to have the ball once it was 2-0, but the Lads played some lovely stuff in the second half, and there can be no complaints about the performance.

The end product was lacking, but we all know why that was, and the way Sunderland knocked the ball around was lovely to watch.

Ba looks a class act

What a player he is, isn’t he?

Great awareness, lovely first touch, and can pick a pass. He’s got all the attributes needed to be a top player, and the fact that he came from the talent factory of Le Havre bodes very well for him.

Surely he’ll be pushing for a start on Saturday.

The referee.......again

You could have tied me up, blindfolded me, put a bag over my head, smashed my TV to pieces and locked me in the cupboard under the stairs and even I would’ve been able to tell you that was a spot kick.

There are as-yet uncontacted tribes in the Amazon who are screaming “PENALTY!” at the top of their lungs. It’s worrying that the officials are serving that sort of performance up, and to top it off, Craig Pawson is a Premier League referee!

Be in no doubt: the officials cost us tonight, big time.

An inability to break teams down

It’s a problem playing teams who bed themselves in like that.

Sunderland’s lack of a focal point in the middle meant that players such as Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts had to create chances and finish them, but were only ever able to do the first bit.

Blackburn sat so deep it was impossible to get in behind them, and the return of Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms simply cannot come quickly enough.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Ewood Park Photo by Isaac Parkin/PA Images via Getty Images

Mark Roberts says...

Some positives for Tony Mowbray

Dennis Cirkin and Jack Clarke are starting to build something pretty special.

They both looked sharp and they worked hard against a team who are now top of the league.

Our never-say-die attitude

We didn’t knock the door down, but our young and hungry squad never gave up on Tuesday night.

A clear penalty not given

Craig Pawson somehow failed to see a foul from ten metres away, which would’ve changed the game.

It’s crap but it’s pretty much standard.

Marc Perry and Scott Ledger

I know this is a little bit unfair, but one of these two couldn’t see straight, from a stationary position, a clear offside.

Officials with Blackburn 2, Sunderland 0, and I’d like to give a special shout out for Lee Hendrie’s unbiased commentary, as well.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Kev Barker says...

Playing the right way

Even at 2-0, and after some awful decisions, we didn’t give up.

We kept playing attacking, possession-based football and I love watching the Lads at the minute.

If we continue to perform like we are and get our injured players back we are a force to be reckoned with come December.

Praise for Tony Mowbray

When it’s not quite working, and even when it’s not bad, Mowbray changes the shape and the tactics and gets more from the same threadbare squad.

He’s not afraid to throw on the subs and it’s very refreshing.

Poor final ball and decision-making

We have so much intricacy to our play, but we often struggle to play the killer ball or to keep the shot down.

It’s not as though we lack quality, either.

The officials

Jesus wept, what a typical game!

We were the better team and we deserved more.

I cannot slate the boys tonight, and I hope Aji Alese is okay. Chalk the goals off and let’s use VAR!

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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