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Andrew Smithson says…
A clean sheet
To shut out any top half side away from home is decent going, but the improvement seen in such a short space of time since the Coventry City game makes the clean sheet even more impressive.
I did feel as if there were a couple of instances where players needed to stay on their feet or not commit, but other than that, the defensive work was spot on - organised and brave.
Anthony Patterson bounced back from some recent setbacks with a faultless showing and in front of him, the lads were switched on and put in a proper shift.
A crucial away victory
We’ve really struggled on the road recently, so this was a big win over a dangerous Hull City side. It puts us back into the playoff spots, which is a massive boost given the last few weeks.
It seems as if there’s been nothing but bad news coming from Sunderland recently, but we’re not a million miles away from where we need to be and with a few little tweaks, we should find some consistency.
Whether you wanted him in or not, Michael Beale knows what it’s like to be at a big club and how to work under pressure, so if he can shut out some of the noise and build on these three points, there could be a welcome upturn in fortunes.
Some loose attacking play
It’s easy for me to say, but a touch more composure in the attacking third would go a long way.
That final decision or movement often let things down and was the only area that stopped Sunderland from wrapping up the win a lot sooner than we did.
The finishing is probably the biggest frustration and I don’t think it’s necessarily down to not picking a natural central forward. Chances are often presentable enough for any player to capitalise on but are either snatched at or passed into the goalkeeper’s gloves.
On the one occasion we found the corner, through Jack Clarke with a good finish, it was a goal and there needs to be more of the same in coming games.
I’m not fully up to speed with the regulations and I’m not having a go at the club if it was out of their hands, but it’s a real shame that UK-based fans had to buy streaming passes via the host club for this one.
The away ticket fiasco from this match has almost been put to one side due to other stories taking over since then, but a lot of loyal supporters missed out and will have been desperate to still support the side.
That fact that it was a Boxing Day game will have meant some other fans usually working would’ve had the chance to watch the action from their sofa too, but instead of going through SAFSee, all of the payments had to go to Hull - once folk had registered new accounts, of course.
With little in the way of communication beforehand, it was a faff, and to make matters worse, the commentator seemed to be on a mission to mispronounce as many names as possible!
Jon Guy says…
A good team performance
Michael Beale seemed to have set us up well yesterday.
We worked hard and dominated possession for long periods of the game. What’s more, we created chances, so the foundations are there.
Clarke tears them apart again
Jack Clarke was the most dangerous player on the pitch and he showed it with his goal.
He’s the lynchpin of the side so I have to hope we rebuff any January offers for him.
More striker issues
We create chances but we’re absolutely desperate for an out-and-out striker.
If the four players we’ve got aren’t up to it, then we need to get someone in who is, because we could be so much higher than we are with a goalscorer.
Late, late, substitutions
I’m not a coach at Championship level as my under sixteens will tell you, but we needed to make a change well before Michael Beale acted.
We had so much possession that we were creating chances that should’ve been put away. Could or should we have been more ambitious? Yes.
3-0 would’ve avoided the last ten minutes, where we introduced a defender and invited them to break us down.
Joseph Tulip says…
Team spirit and performance
Much has been said about Tony Mowbray’s influence and connection with our players, but weeks after his departure, there’s no doubt that the team spirit at Sunderland is as strong as ever.
This was a proper team performance from start to finish, with no shortage of lovely football, exciting attacks with opportunities created, and dogged defending at the other end with everyone playing for the shirt and each other.
Players stepping up
There was a noticeable improvement in the performances of several individuals who’ve struggled of late.
Pierre Ekwah was possibly as dominant as we’ve seen in a Sunderland shirt, strong on the ball and a real physical presence in the centre of the pitch, while Jobe really put himself about and looked way beyond his eighteen years.
Luke O’Nien and Jenson Seelt also deserve praise for their defensive contributions; Anthony Patterson made a vital save in tipping a powerful shot over the bar, and Jack Clarke, as he so often does, ran the opposition defence ragged and bagged the winner.
Accepting the striker situation
After Saturday’s home defeat, Michael Beale said we were working with the resources available ‘in the short term’.
This obviously hints at January transfer activity but with no strikers featuring yet again, it looks as though the coaching staff aren’t happy with our current strikers and that new arrivals may be on the way next month.
Therefore, as frustrating as that is to take, we must trust in those running the team and the club, and see what they have in store.
A lack of coverage on SAFSee
I don’t get to many away games these days and with Boxing Day not being a Saturday, I was disappointed not to find the game available for UK residents on the club’s own streaming service.
However, my wife managed to log into Hull’s website and was able to pay £10 for the privilege.
It was great to find a stream, even though I’d much rather be giving our hard-earned cash to Sunderland, but I was impressed with the coverage. The camerawork was good, there were replays and the Hull commentator was fair and relatively balanced.
He even came up with some new names for some of our players, notably Julian Seelt, Luke O’Noyon and Dominic Bollard.
I wonder why Hull featured the game and we didn’t?
Kyle Garrett says…
Pierre Ekwah impresses
It was so much better from Ekwah and exactly the kind of performance we’ve been waiting for for months.
He drove us up the pitch time and time again, and was so much stronger in the tackle.
More of that please, Pierre!
Seelt stakes a claim
I’m not sure whether he’ll be our right back once Dennis Cirkin and Aji Alese are fit again, but Jenson Seelt made another strong claim to be in our starting eleven moving forwards.
Patrick Roberts flatters to deceive
No end product, again!
I’m rapidly losing my patience with him. Time and time again, he gets into positions to create something, and time and time again he doesn’t do anything.
Time for a change on the right.
The striker conundrum
Are they that bad?
Surely you’d start one over Bradley Dack, who was terrible before he went off injured.
Adil Aouchiche did well when he came on, but Nazariy Rusyn, Eliezer Mayenda and Mason Burstow were all left waiting on the bench.
Michael Dunne says…
Jack Clarke delivers again
It’s no surprise, but Clarke was our main man again and another fantastic finish from the winger got us a vital win.
It could be perceived as a negative but it’s great to have a player of his calibre and who’ll dig us out of a hole.
Jenson Seelt impresses
Seelt was magnificent at right back.
It doesn’t look like his natural position but he certainly put in a performance. Every time I’ve seen him play, I’ve been very impressed with him.
If he keeps this form up, it’s going to be interesting to see how Michael Beale will line the team up when some other players come back from injury, because Seelt looks like another good signing.
Still no strikers
I’m like a broken record at this stage but we need to see a striker.
At this stage, Beale should just pick one player and stick with him for six or eight games and see what he can produce.
It seems bizarre to me that we can play until after Christmas without a striker, yet we have four on the bench.
Bradley Dack’s injury
Dack looked to be in a lot of pain as he went off in the first half.
With his injury record in mind, you’d hope that it isn’t too serious for him.