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Sunderland v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship

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Matchday Musings: Sunderland stall in Playoff bid - is it still on, or definitely off?!

Neil Warnock and his hard-working Huddersfield team earned a deserved point against our Lads last night - denting our playoff hopes. Is the chase still on, or definitely off?!

Photo by John Early/Getty Images

Tony Mowbray keeps his mouth as tightly pursed around injury news as he does around his choice of confectionary, although it didn’t come as too much of a surprise when it was Edouard Michut “miching” out, leaving Dan Neil to fend for himself in the centre of the park.

Following a slow, somewhat laboured first half hour, having allowed Huddersfield a few glimpses of Patterson, it was “Arise Sir Joffy!”.

An end-to-end move with an intricate interplay that is so characteristic of this young side saw Pritchard slot it through to Amad who found a goal-shy Gelhardt in several untenanted acres, who brilliantly slot one home.

We finished the half strongly, and should probably have had another had Amad not blazed over from point-blank range.

1-0 at the break.

Sunderland v Huddersfeild Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Huddersfield began the second 45 like they’d started the first; brightly, only this time, the Terriers made it count with a well-taken, albeit deflected goal from Koroma.

Should Mowbray have brought on a midfield reinforcement to steady the ship and stave off an early Huddersfield equaliser? Yep.

Did he? No.

Was really a case of coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Lihadji was brought on for Gelhardt, who was, arguably, our liveliest forward, and seemed lost up top.

Ultimately, this was a game of few chances, and little creative spark, and upon reflection, a draw was probably a fair result.

A home draw against a side battling to stay in the division isn’t exactly ideal considering our loose play-off hopes, although the team in question are unbeaten in seven and fighting for their championship lives. While we still await the results of Coventry, Blackburn, Preston, and Norwich who play on Wednesday evening, clinching a last-gasp play-off spot looks like a prospect that could very quickly dissipate over the next 5 days.

Sunderland v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

A Century for Dan Neil

Who doesn’t like being proved right? The furore around Dan Neil prior to the 2021-2022 season that subsequently ended in promotion was impossible to ignore.

His talent was unquestionable, and when Lee Johnson’s call inevitably came, he was mightily impressive as a forward-thinking, agile central midfielder.

Pictures of him on away days during his formative years and most notably, at Wembley in 2014 were shooting up all over Twitter, it was just a matter of time before the “he’s one of our own” chant was being dusted off and added to the Sunlun hymn sheet.

Fast-forward 100 games, one promotion, three managers, and a new contract, and the boy from South Shields is looking every bit like a future premier league player, and even received a card to mark the milestone, albeit of the ref’s yellow kind.

Sunderland v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
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