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Swansea v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Opinion: “Sunderland taught a major Championship lesson by Swansea in South Wales!”

“It was an afternoon filled with frustration and disappointment in South Wales - the Black Cats were taught a Championship lesson in punishment by Russell Martin’s Swansea,” writes Finlay Anderson.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

When Anthony Patterson was forced to clear a bundling effort off the line before Ben Cabango thrashed an effort against a Sunderland body, the game had all the makings of a devastating afternoon for the Lads in South Wales.

A critical first half showing had the away side licking their wounds going into the half-time interval, but it wasn’t the worst outcome that was envisaged when Harry Darling put the Swans two in front before the break.

It was probably our worst half of the season, rather on par with the showing at the Riverside at the beginning of last month, but a mixture of defensive resilience and a brief attacking spurt meant it wasn’t the afternoon where Russell Martin’s side ran rampant.

Swansea City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Even before kick-off, though, this one had the makings of a tricky afternoon for the Wearsiders. A team without an out-and-out centre-forward without a goal in their last two fixtures, against a side right bang in-form after a difficult start to the Championship season.

So, if this was the cherry on top of a superb week for the Swans, this proved to be very much a devastating ending to a very difficult week for Tony Mowbray’s side.

After consecutive goalless draws to Preston and Blackpool, Mowbray needed an answer to his goalscoring absences. Whilst the Black Cats did manage to hit the back of the net through a decent Jack Clarke strike, Mowbray is still left with unanswered questions to his goalscoring conundrum.

Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms are both likely to be missing for next weekend’s visit of Wigan Athletic to the Stadium of Light, so Mowbray will utilise the whole week to secure a dependable attacking source for the game.

For this one, Mowbray reverted back to the same side that salvaged a two-two draw against Watford before the international break, but continued to lack that presence in the forward areas.

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

In the early stages at the Swansea.com Stadium (formerly known as the Liberty Stadium), this lack of an outlet, combined with an overload of Swansea pressure, meant that the visitors struggled to get out, and in doing so, Russell Martin’s side piled pressure onto our defensive structure - and within 13 minutes, it broke.

Within the first 45 minutes, the Swans dealt the Black Cats with a rather critical Championship lesson – consistently give the ball away and lose second balls and third balls and give opposition players time and space in dangerous areas, and you’ll be punished.

For their first, Cooper was somehow in acres of space to fire a deflected effort past Patterson after a cutback from Matt Grimes - we didn’t deal with two unsuccessful headers before Harry Darling eventually poke the ball into the back of the net.

Twice Sunderland couldn’t deal with Swansea’s threat, and twice they were punished in rather avoidable circumstances. And, in truth, it probably could have been more, if the likes of Michael Obafemi and Olivier Ntcham had started from the off.

Swansea City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

This was probably the first time this season that Sunderland have been off the boil for a lengthy period of time, and they’ve been shown that teams have the capabilities to punish you, especially against an in-form Swansea team, who came into this match from victories against Hull City, West Brom and Watford.

Yet, this was not an all-negative afternoon in South Wales.

Jack Clarke eventually made some impressive attacking displays over recent weeks count with a first goal since the end of August, Jewison Bennette, again, came on with the same energy and enthusiasm that we’ve quickly become accustomed to, whilst Mowbray’s side continued in the second half with the similar defensive mentality that gained them two points against Preston and Blackpool.

But, ultimately, for all they could half the deficit in the second half, it was an afternoon filled with frustration and disappointment to end a week that has gone along the same lines.

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