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Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Third Round

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Two Up, Two Down: What positives & negatives can we take from Sunderland’s win at Shrewsbury?

Late goals from Ross Stewart and Luke O’Nien secured our passage into the fourth round for the first time in eight years. What were the positives and negatives from the game?

Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says…

Respecting the competition

It’s easy to say in hindsight with a dramatic win in the bag, but I was pleased with the team selection and the substitutions that Tony Mowbray made.

There was a good balance between looking to win but also giving some fringe players their chance, and to have so many academy prospects the squad is very encouraging.

I’ve said before that I’d love to see us do well in the cup, and whilst we left it late I think the victory was fully deserved on the balance of play.

Top support

It was no surprise to see another away end sell out, but we must say a special ‘thank you’ to the Newcastle United fans that make the effort to come and watch the Lads too.

They seem to be becoming a lucky charm, and I hope those in attendance enjoyed seeing such an entertaining end to the match.

You can usually bank on a former player coming back to haunt us, but with Aiden O’Brien unable to score, it seems the only thing we can be sure of now is that our neighbours really do want to see the whole region prosper after all.

Poor calls

Had we scored in the first half I think we’d have gone on to win comfortably, and whilst I need to see the incidents again I think we should have had at least one, and possibly two penalties that could’ve helped us achieve that.

Neither player needed to go down when they did, and based on some of the other decisions I feel we’ve been slightly short changed with those calls.

I know the officials have a very tough job and I accept that I watch the games through red and white tinted spectacles, but those moments could’ve really cost us and to go as far as booking Patrick Roberts for supposedly diving doesn’t just mean he had a poor view, which I could accept, but also suggests serious misjudgement.

Bad memories

Seeing Steve Cotterill and being back at Shrewsbury were nasty reminders of some pretty bleak times following Sunderland.

Thankfully, things are looking up now but as the game went into added time, it seemed for all the world as if we were going to have to endure another miserable result.

Our away form has been fantastic of late and coming from behind is always great to see, so hopefully those darker periods are now long gone and we can now look forward to the fourth round draw!

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Mark Roberts says…

Dan Neil’s performance

Neil was excellent yesterday.

There’s been a clear improvement from him since the World Cup. His tackling and reading of the game have continued to grow, enabling to keep us out of trouble and giving the attackers the confidence they need to do their jobs.

Shrewsbury are a physical side but Neil dealt with it well, and he’s got all of the attributes to be a real star.


Two late goals, a fifteen-year-old winning a corner, a goal from a corner, and a Luke O’Nien goal. Who would’ve believed it?

I was absolutely chuffed with our never-say-die attitude.

Another sloppy start

The half was littered with errors and we were lucky not go behind.

Bailey Wright took forty five minutes to warm up, and he created their best chance. Fortunately Saydee couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo or couldn’t hit a barn door if he was locked inside - take your pick.

Some frustrating play from Sunderland

Patrick Roberts was unlucky to be booked, and on the replay it looked like he should have won a penalty, but that was one of the only times he went on the outside.

During the second half, Roberts and Amad had a lot of the ball but they did the same thing every time: cutting inside and playing short passes, usually to each other. It left me slightly frustrated.

Shrewsbury packed the defence, the short passes weren’t working, and even when Stewart came on there was little change. It might be a harsh critique, but Roberts and Amad are both excellent footballers, and perhaps they needed a rocket from Luke O’Nien.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says…

Late winners on the road!

After such a tough shift and such bad luck in not winning the game inside ninety minutes, it was good to see us winning on the road with late goals again.

The team tried very hard but struggled to break Shrewsbury down, but there’s no better feeling on the drive home for yet another sold out away end!

A goal for Luke O’Nien

After recently joining the Sunderland AFC ‘200 club’, it was great to see O’Nien contributing at the top end of the field.

He’s a good striker of a ball and his finish was a corker.

After all the plaudits O’Nien’s received for his defensive duties, it was great to be reminded of what he can do at the other end of the pitch.

An honourable mention also goes to Trai Hume. He really is cementing himself in that slot as well as providing a lot of attacking contributions. Keep it up!

Failure to take our chances

It was annoying to see the slightly changed team struggle to convert any of the chances we created, and I felt that our football was a bit too ‘tippy tappy’.

We do need more attacking options as we looked a bit toothless until Ross Stewart came on, and hopefully some transfers are approaching completion.

Extra minutes in the legs

It would’ve been good to put the tie to bed early and let the likes of Dan Ballard have more rest but we didn’t.

I’m hopeful that having youth on his side means that he doesn’t have any issues as the season progresses, but I did feel for those who couldn’t be rotated yesterday.

However, the win was secured without a replay, so it’s all good!

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images


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