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Sunderland v Watford - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: A crucial point gained as Sunderland rally from 0-2 down

Luke O’Nien and Patrick Roberts were the heroes as the Lads fought back to grab a point against Watford on Saturday. What were the positives and negatives from the game?

Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dan Harrison says...

Coming from behind to draw

Despite the scoreline looking bleak with twenty five minutes to go, we managed to show not only the character, but also the persistence and resilience to drag ourselves back from a 0-2 deficit.

With one game remaining, Tony Mowbray’s team can do nothing but attack the final game head on and show the never-say-die mentality that the players have demonstrated throughout the season.

Pierre Ekwah’s performance

Holding his place in midfield following the away fixture at West Bromwich Albion, Ekwah looked assured and confident and he made some great decisions both in and out of possession.

He’ll probably feel slightly aggrieved being taken off when he did, but he looks to have been a really shrewd acquisition by Sunderland’s recruitment team in January, and it bodes well for the future as Corry Evans is phased out of the side in the coming seasons.

Defensive frailties on display

We were ultimately undone on Saturday due to a shortage of natural central defenders as well as a lack of height.

Through no fault of our own, we found ourselves two goals down through almost identical set pieces and our lack of height was a weakness that Watford managed to exploit on two occasions.

Should we reach the playoffs, Dan Ballard will hopefully be fit and that could make a real difference.

Sunderland’s home nerves

It’s no secret that our home form has been below par this season, and part of that can be blamed on the nerves seen during games at the Stadium of Light.

Playing in front of 40,000 fans is certainly a daunting prospect, especially for young players who’ve made few first team appearances prior to making moves to Sunderland.

Hopefully next season, this young team can shake off these nerves and harness the support rather than fear it. Loose passes will become less frequent, and hopefully this serves as a learning opportunity for many of these young lads heading into next season.

Sunderland v Watford - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jon Guy says...

Playing to the whistle

This was another game in which we played right to the final second.

We kept piling on the pressure and it paid off, and this is a team that fights for each other and for the shirt.

The playoffs are still on!

It’s going to be another final day where we have it all to play for, albeit we’re relying on other results,

We still have a chance of the playoffs, and hopefully we can get a result at Preston.

Set piece fragility

At one end, we struggled to score from set pieces and the lack of specialist centre halves and players over six feet tall cost us dearly again.

We could and should be working on attacking set pieces on the training pitch, but at the back, there’s little we can do if the opposition are so much taller.

Amad’s Stadium of Light swan song

Given the amazing contribution he’s made, it would’ve been nice for Amad to have put in a performance of which he’s capable.

Nothing really went for him yesterday, and while the equalising goal had the ground rocking, it was sad to see him play as he did.

Lars Knutsen says...

Overcoming adversity

We played without a defence and an attack on Saturday, but we still managed to compete in a crucial final home league game.

The promise of youth

It’s truly remarkable to see how the young players have stepped up despite the current absence of eight first team players.

However, teams that perform well have players who are playing close to the top of their game, as we saw at the Hawthorns, and are therefore good by default, so we may not miss the regulars as much.

A slightly edgy performance

Living in the south east of England and this being my first home game of the season, I did notice a hesitancy in our game in front of a passionate Stadium of Light crowd.

I think the way we play is better suited to away games, because we break at speed.

Can we handle the pressure?

We have one more away game at mid-table Preston, which is a gift as they have nothing to play for.

Tony Mowbray has rightly kept a low profile and taken the pressure off the players’ young shoulders, but a week on Monday it’s very clear what we need to do, and there’ll be real pressure.

If we do qualify for the playoffs, the experience of that particular pressure cooker a year ago will work to our advantage.

Sunderland v Watford - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images


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