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Preston North End v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: Frustration on the road as Sunderland beaten by Preston

After rallying to level the game at 1-1, the Lads were edged out by the Lilywhites as their slow start to the season continued. What did our writers make of the game?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gav says…

Jobe’s first half

Despite looking at least ten years older than he is, you do have to remind yourself occasionally that Jobe Bellingham is actually seventeen years old and that he sometimes needs to be treated like a teenager to ensure we’re not over egging that particular pudding.

Still, I saw a lot of really positive stuff from him in the opening forty five minutes, and that gives me hope and optimism for the future with him in our team.

He got stuck in and broke the play up well, carrying the ball forward at pace which gave us a much needed boost in the final third. Although he faded by the second half, I think generally there was more to be positive about with what he did in his performance than negative.

I’m excited to see where he goes from here.

Paddy’s back!

There’s nothing I love more than watching Patrick Roberts in full flow and burning past opposition players with ease.

The final ball is occasionally lacking but I think there’s a lot more to come from Roberts this season, and he more than anyone will benefit from having Ross Stewart or another forward back in the fold.

Poor finishing

There’s lots of chatter around the need for a striker at the minute, but at Preston the players we fielded weren’t good enough in front of goal.

We were far too wasteful, particularly in the second half, and I think we did more than enough to score a couple more goals.

Patrick Roberts, Abdoullah Ba and Luke O’Nien will be kicking themselves for fluffing their lines at crucial moments in front of goal at Deepdale, because we deserved more than we ultimately got.

A boost is needed

The mood around the camp or in the fanbase hasn’t been great since the season started, and we really could’ve done with winning the game, if only to help lift the mood a bit, refocus people and remind them of the scale of the task ahead of us this season.

With each game the pressure and tension increases, and it’s just a shame we couldn’t manage to get the victory we needed here.

Preston North End v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dan Harrison says...

Some promise from out wide

One positive from the performance was that both Jack Clarke & Patrick Roberts were more like their usual selves in the wide positions, and they both required doubling up from the Preston midfielders throughout the game.

Although many of our attacks were smothered, Roberts in particular showed that he’s capable of turning defences inside out at the drop of a hat.

A solid back four

Despite conceding twice and losing the game, our back four looked relatively unchallenged throughout the ninety minutes and didn’t allow many Preston chances from build up play.

Both goals came on the counter from mistakes in midfield which left us exposed, and therefore fans shouldn’t feel the back line was at fault.

A lack of cutting edge

We all know that we’re lacking a striker.

It’s been spoken about to the nth degree, but the game was yet another example of Sunderland dominating the build up without any end product.

Tony Mowbray will be concerned that despite dominating the stats, we required a penalty to draw level and we couldn’t find the equaliser from open play.

A different style of play

Compared to last season, we’ve switched to a more controlled game, leaning away from attacking in transition and towards maintaining control.

It’s all well and good doing so, but without creating any clear cut chances, we can open ourselves up to counter attacks far too frequently.

If Mowbray wants to continue playing this way, he needs his forwards to begin to convert, because playing as expansively as we do, we’re bound to concede many more goals on the break this season.

Malc Dugdale says...

Roberts stands out

Patrick Roberts looked up for it and it wasn’t for the lack of him trying that we failed to score.

Preston ended up doubling up on him which should’ve created chances elsewhere but we couldn’t seem to do much through the middle and all our chances were through the width provided by Jack Clarke and Roberts.

I’m not sure what happened to our midfielders, but hopefully they can get their mojo back ahead of the next game.

Early days

Two losses in two games isn’t great but it’s still very early. We’ve got plenty of players to come back from injury and hopefully some new faces to arrive as well.

A faction of fans will already be calling for Tony Mowbray’s head, but I’m certain that our season will kick in and we’ll get more of what we deserve.

It’s a marathon not a sprint, and in our case it’s a bloody good job!

More deflection disappointment

After losing to Ipswich and Preston by one goal and suffering the bad luck of a deflection going against us yet again, the team must be wondering what they need to do to catch a break.

It could be said that we deserve to have at least two points from our opening two games, but all we can do is hope this run of bad fortune improves very soon.

A lack of threat upfront

The fact we only got back into the game from the penalty spot and that we really struggled to test the Preston goalkeeper (though he did make one great save from Roberts which he had no right to) reinforces the fact that we really haven’t hit our stride yet.

That said, we haven’t been outplayed and we should’ve got something from both games.

We need to start converting performances into points, as confidence is key and we know that very well.

Preston North End v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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