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Swansea City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Sunderland’s lack of cutting edge strikes again in Swansea draw

Despite racking up twenty five shots on Saturday afternoon, we couldn’t find the breakthrough against the Swans. Finlay Anderson reflects on our struggles in front of goal

Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Twenty five shots and no goals.

In truth, this told the story at the Stadium on Saturday, as not for the first time this season, Sunderland’s lack of cutting edge was exposed.

However, perhaps the starkest statistic comes from the fact that only three of those twenty five shots were on target over the course of the ninety minutes.

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

For all that we’ve found ways to score during the season so far, this was one of those afternoons when our attacking threat was below the required standard.

After a red card for Charlie Patino in the thirtieth minute, Swansea were largely camped in their own half but after an impressive defensive display, they were able to hold out.

The home crossbar came in handy on two occasions, as Jack Clarke’s free kick clipped the top of the bar on the stroke of half time, before Abdoullah Ba’s curling effort was the width of the woodwork away from sealing the three points for the Black Cats.

Those chances, combined with some excellent goalkeeping from Brighton loanee Carl Rushworth and a lack of clinical finishing, meant that we had to settle for a point.

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

Two points dropped? Most definitely, especially after playing for so long against ten men, but among the positives Tony Mowbray will take might centre around the attacking dominance and control we had, even before the red card.

From minute one, we seemed fully in control. Our press and attacking positioning were proving tough for the home side to deal with, and the first half probably saw some of our best attacking play all season.

Jamal Lowe’s penalty came and went as Michael Duff’s side were left to rue the biggest chance to steal all three points, but there’s little doubt that this was a missed opportunity for Sunderland.

The second half was virtually spent in Swansea’s half as we controlled the match and dictated the tempo, but we also struggled to hit the target.

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

Luke O’Nien blasted a free-kick over the bar, whilst Pierre Ekwah, Alex Pritchard, Trai Hume, Dennis Cirkin and Clarke all tried their luck from outside of the penalty area, but to no avail.

We needed someone inside the box to turn the ball past Rushworth, but despite the introduction of Luis Hemir up top, nothing came.

Nazariy Rusyn started his second successive game, and again impressed with his pace and willingness get in behind and cause problems, but he also missed a key opportunity in the first half after losing his footing.

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

The signs from his performance were quite positive and suggested that he’s heading in the right direction. Once he gets a goal under his belt, he looks like a player who’ll continue to improve.

On Saturday afternoon, though, it came down to the attacking nous that we needed in the final third, and despite twenty five shots and all of the domination, we ultimately rued a lack of cutting edge.

It was a missed opportunity to move back into the top six, but you’d also imagine that on another day, maybe one of those chances creeps in.


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