Andrew Smithson says...
It’s in the blood
Forgive me for making this one just about me, but this was the first time in ages that my two daughters and two nieces were all at the game with me, and seeing them belt out the chants at full time almost had me in tears - if you could manufacture the feeling I would want it hooked into my veins every day.
You see the game differently when you watch through the eyes of children; they weren’t bothered about things like tactics or having a go when mistakes were made, they just wanted to enjoy themselves and see the Lads win.
Watching them get wrapped up in it all reminded me of when I first started going to matches, and having loved ones with you just makes it all the more special now. Apologies if I seem overly dramatic but, honestly, experiencing all that with them again will stay with me a long time.
Alex Neil continues to get results out of the players, and that cannot be easy after coming in halfway through a season. It is still relatively early days but I like his approach to things so far; we might see more of his preferred tactics after the summer but, for now, he is getting points on the board and smiles on faces.
His substitutions are particularly good, and whilst some around me felt it was a backward step bringing Corry Evans on it was pretty clear what the manager was trying to do and why.
His press conferences are interesting too but this is perhaps what we need, somebody that can block out all the external stuff from the terraces and the media and just get on with the matter at hand.
I had to move seats for the game so that we could all sit together, and ended up right near the front. Normally, I am a lot further back and can get a good idea of the pattern of play, but there were spells where I just couldn’t get my bearings at all. I found it impossible at times to work out how close the play was to the goal at the far end, or where certain players were in relation to one another.
I must just get lucky with away games as I rarely get seats that close to the front and I don’t like the perspective at all; hearing the sound roll down the stands was good - it gave me an idea of how that transmits to the players, and the kids liked being close to the action, but I dont know how other people can put up with viewing games from so low down on a regular basis.
We should have known Tom Flanagan would get a goal. I didn’t mind him when he was at Sunderland to be fair, he had his moments and seemed to have the right attitude, but ex-players or out-of-form strikers scoring against us seems to be so ‘typical Sunlun’ it is untrue.
Heaven help us if we somehow end up having to play Wigan Athletic again in the playoffs!
Ant Waterson says...
Never say die!
Sunderland were once again staring a draw in the face, a brilliant first half was all undone in the second as we totally switched off for Shrewsbury’s goals. Then up steps Nathen Broadhead to once again send the fans wild.
This is not a coincidence, Sunderland are fighting until the bitter end to win games. We have given ourselves a big chance of ending the season in the playoffs and teams are going to start to fear playing us.
Shut Up, Vela!
When Josh Vela got Shrewsbury's first today, you would be forgiven for thinking he had scored the winner in the FA Cup final. Goading the crowd and cupping his ears to the fans. The same thing happened with Flanagan's equaliser, whilst Flannagan did not want to celebrate, his teammates all give the big celebrations to the crowd.
So it was all that sweeter to see the same players drop to their knees when our last-minute winner went in. Cheers lads.
Booing Corry Evans
When Alex Neil rolled the dice to bring Elliot Embleton off for Corry Evans, Evans was booed coming on to the pitch by a selection of the fans. This is not on. Evans has given the side balance in the last few games and scored a nice goal last week against Oxford. More so, he steadied the ship when he came on and calmed us down and it allowed us to dominate the game again. We shouldn’t boo any of our own. Let’s stop this eh?
Alex Neil has really worked on making us more solid and a run of six clean sheets in eight games before day was the evidence of that. However, both goals today were avoidable. We will need to work on that against Plymouth on Monday as they are a good side with plenty of attacking threat.
I’m happy to accept today as a one-off but, hopefully, we see the return to the steely defending that has done us well recently.
Malc Dugdale says...
We missed him for a while and he sort of came back and then went away again, but the young lad on loan from Merseyside had to be our man of the match today.
He got two goals and a weird assist off a free-kick and was everything we missed up-front. We simply have to sign this lad whether we go up or not. Great to have him back
Another one ground out
Yet again we nicked a win late on when for so many seasons in the past we would have had a draw at best and may well have lost the game.
Despite allowing them back into the game we once again played all of the 90-plus minutes and grabbed a win at the death. This is a great habit we are creating and I for one hope it will not stop for some time to come.
We let them in when we should have killed it
Against better sides, we will not be able to let sides come back from two down to draw level, but we did today. We have to learn from this as we have supposedly improved our defending yet we nearly threw it away today.
Sympathy for Stewart
What does the big lad have to do to score? He once again worked very hard and hit the bar but didn’t notch one. That said if he draws defenders away and enables others to score including late on winners he is doing his bit and is more than welcome to rise to form in the playoff games we will surely now secure. Don’t let your head drop Nessie you’re not done yet