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Wigan Athletic v Cambridge United - Sky Bet League One - The DW Stadium

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After The Final Whistle: Cambridge fan Marc gives his thoughts on Sunderland’s win on Saturday!

Now that the dust has settled, we sat down with Marc Manning - a passionate Cambridge fan and contributor to top Podcast ‘Under the Abbey Stand’ - to get his thoughts on Sunderland’s rampant win against his side.

Photo by Barrington Coombs/PA Images via Getty Images

RR: We have to start with the moment that changed the match, I felt that Lloyd Jones was unlucky to receive a red card, what did you think?

Marc: It’s a stonewall penalty but the red card is a shocking decision. Obviously I’m speaking from a biased perspective but to hear Sunderland fans like yourself say he was unlucky just rubs salt in the wounds. I think it sums up the ambiguity of the new double jeopardy rulings and the farcical refereeing we’ve seen in the EFL this season.

RR: After Ross Stewart opened the scoring, Elliot Embleton scored a fantastic second, do you think he meant it?

Marc: The goal was a carbon copy of Alex Pritchard’s in the reverse fixture back in November albeit this time it was from a free kick. I think he was trying to swing it to the back post for an unmarked Corry Evans, but our keeper should be doing so much better with that. It was a good goal though nevertheless.

RR: Cambridge responded fantastically to get back into the match straight away, despite the end result, were you pleased with your side's attitude throughout the match?

Marc: When we got a goal back through Paul Digby, I did start to think we may have a chance at getting another if we kept at it. But it seemed like conceding that goal spurred Sunderland on even more, especially under their circumstances regarding the playoff race. I was pleased with the performance though considering the uphill battle of having a player less than Sunderland, especially in the second half considering the ball was very rarely in the other half of the pitch.

Rotherham United v Cambridge United - Papa John’s Trophy - Quarter Final - AESSEAL New York Stadium Photo by Isaac Parkin/PA Images via Getty Images

RR: 3 of our 5 goals came from crosses, do you think it was a case of Sunderland exploiting the width of the pitch and the added man rather than Cambridge defending poorly?

Marc: The red card obviously changed the dynamic of the game, and that led to us playing a back 5 which is the first time this season we’ve done that so I’d say Sunderland definitely exploited that. I’d say it was a mix of bad defending though for the last two goals, but by that time the game was already dead and buried.

RR: Which Sunderland players impressed you the most and why?

Marc: I’d say the player who impressed me the most was Lynden Gooch. It seemed like every time he got the ball he was always looking to get the cross in and 90% of the time it always met the head of someone in the box. Ross Stewart stood out obviously for scoring two goals, if Sunderland don’t go up I’d say they’d find it difficult to keep a hold of him.

RR: Regardless of the result, how did you find the overall experience at The Stadium of Light?

Marc: Personally I’d say it was a good experience, the staff in the club shop and outside the ground were welcoming as were the Sunderland supporters. The Stadium of Light has always been a ground I’ve wanted to visit for years and it was great to finally visit it. The away end though is probably one of the worst I’ve been in this season, I felt so detached from the rest of the stadium which was a shame with such a big crowd present.

Sunderland v Mansfield Town: Emirates FA Cup First Round Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

RR: The result means that Cambridge will need a win to secure a top-half finish, what is your overall assessment of your season?

Marc: Before the season started I expected us to finish at least mid-table so a top half finish would be the icing on the cake of a memorable season. We made some strong signings after losing arguably our two best players in the summer on free transfers. We’ve had some fantastic results too, notably Ipswich and Wigan away where we came away with comfortable victories against clubs who have budgets 10 times the size of ours. There’s been some games which have made for uncomfortable viewing but we’re a small club in the same league as sleeping giants so it’s to be expected. Hopefully progress can be made in the summer so we can do the same again next season. And let’s not forget our FA Cup run, beating Newcastle in their own backyard is a memory that will stay with me forever. Sorry!

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