Mowbray went safe
Mogga’s got a certain way of playing when it comes to home games, so there were no real surprises when the team selection was announced - although some of us were hoping to see an experimental side from Tony Mowbray, especially now that the supposed ‘tough’ run of games was out of the way.
Pierre Ekwah dropped to the bench despite his decent showing against Burnley, and in came Edouard Michut, the preferred partner to Dan Neil at the Stadium of Light.
Also returning to the fold was Amad, in place of Alex Pritchard, and his return was a welcome one having missed out last week due to arriving late back from international duty.
Safety in mind... or so we thought.
Tony Mowbray's XI #SAFC | #SUNHUL— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) April 7, 2023
We didn’t start well enough... and then - “BOOM!”
Hull started the game on the front foot, and it didn’t take them long to get the first goal.
Some poor closing down all over the park led to their midfield running through us with ease, and Ozan Tufan was able to take advantage with a superb finish into the top corner that Patterson had no chance of saving. What was interesting to me in the stands was that both Gooch and Dan Neil screamed at Amad for not working hard enough at the start of the move - it seems even despite the fact he’s the best player we have, nobody is allowed to shirk responsibility.
Hull continued to press away at us and then out of absolutely nowhere came two goals in quick succession from Sunderland to put us into the lead for the first time.
Firstly, a really weird goal that was finished off by Joe Gelhardt. Clarke made a great run, passed it wide to Amad, who then passed back to Clarke when a shot seemed the better option - he then completely fluffed it and, luckily, it fell to Gelhardt who was in a better position and he finished it well to put us level.
Just a minute later came our second - again, Clarke and Amad combining before the Manchester United loanee passed the ball under former mag Darlow and into the net.
Our lead lasted just three minutes. In what was a theme of the game, more poor defending allowed Hull to grab a goal - a fabulous save from Patterson wasn’t enough as the ball deflected into the path of Allahyar Sayyadmanesh, who finished expertly to put his team level.
Two poor teams, but an eventful half!
The second half was much like the first, although Sunderland were probably the better of the two sides after the break and looked most likely to score.
Still - the game got even dafter when Hull went back ahead again, on 66 minutes through Regan Slater after a brainfart from Trai Hume.
The Northern Irishman attempted to show Slater and the ball out of play, but momentarily switched off and allowed the Hull man to continue his run before smashing the ball beyond Patterson and into the roof of the net. Mistake from Hume aside, it was a class finish.
We responded quickly, and the leveller came from the penalty spot.
Was it a penalty? Probably not, but the Hull defender gives the referee a decision to make as soon as he raises his hands and that’s where I lose any sympathy. Clarke goes down, the crowd are up in arms, and the ref points to the spot.
Amad stepped up, and... just scored. It scraped the fingertips of Darlow but it didn’t matter, because the most important thing was that it hit the back of the net.
We were level!
Both teams went back and forth in search of a winner, and on 81 minutes we thought we had found it - an absolutely outstanding move from Sunderland that was orchestrated by Diallo and Roberts, and was finished off by Jack Clarke.
The former Spurs man had an immense game really when you strip down his contributions - although, his miss near the end of the game following some fancy footwork by Amad again which would have put the game to bed at 5-3 was one we’d eventually be made to rue.
Right at the death - and I mean right at the death... like, in the dying seconds - Pierre Ekwah made a clumsy tackle inside the box which afforded Hull a chance to equalise that they probably didn’t think was coming.
Tufan stepped up, smashed it home past Patterson, and the ref blew the full time whistle.
What a kick in the bollocks.
Did we learn anything new about this team? Nah.
We can’t really defend for shit and there’s a giant gap in the midfield that teams find easy to exploit every single week - we aren’t going to address that before the end of the season because we have a full team of players out injured. It is what it is.
We scored four goals and that’s something to cling onto, at least, especially when most of the talk after the loss is about lack of firepower. We do have firepower, we just don’t have an outlet and perhaps that’s what was missing most in the latter stages of this game.
Our game management is seriously poor and a huge frustration, but I’m cool with it. I’d have taken being in this position in the table at the start of the season, so anything else is a bonus. The playoffs are slipping away from us, but results going our way and a win on Monday would have us all believing again, I’m sure.
Onwards we go!