Saturday 19th August 2023
Sunderland v Rotherham United
Stadium of Light
Tickets & Match Coverage
Tickets: Tickets available at www.safc.com.
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is available via www.safc.com.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
Two league games and two defeats was not how the script was supposed to go - but it could have been very different. In both league games so far, we’ve had spells where we have completely dominated the opposition, but came away with nothing to show for it.
We’re missing a spark, as well as being ruthless and clinical in the final third - if we find that then we might just kickstart our season. In many ways, it feels like the last time Rotherham came to town almost a year ago for Tony Mowbray’s first game in charge.
At that point, we had won one in the first six, and the 3-0 win gave Mowbray an early boost. However, it is worth a reminder that even with Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms in the starting XI that evening, it still took 52 minutes to break them down to open the scoring.
We could be in for a similar ride tonight with the first goal, as is so often the case at the Stadium of Light, being all important with our current style of play. If we manage to score early, then the floodgates could well be opened.
However, that 3-0 victory almost a year ago is a brief happy moment in our recent record against The Millers over the last four years - in the five meetings since 2019 it is our only win over today’s opposition, the others being two draws and two defeats.
Beyond that, it was almost exemplary as we were 14 unbeaten in competitive competitions against Rotherham in a run that stretched back to 1962, which was the last defeat before the more recent run of results - probably about time we got back on track.
Rotherham United finally broke their seven-year pattern of bouncing between League One and the Championship - with 2016-17 being the last time they spent a second season in either division.
To finish six points clear of the drop was an achievement considering they have been relegated on their previous three stints in the second tier. They also had a change of manager on their way to achieving safety from the drop due to Paul Warne deciding to join Derby County just a couple of months before his sixth anniversary in charge of the Millers.
Matt Taylor arrived from Exeter City in October of last year and managed to avoid the bottom three, but, on paper at least, their two results so far this season suggest that it could be a long season ahead.
Two Stoke City goals in first-half injury-time on the opening day, combined with a sending-off 20 minutes from time resulted in a 4-1 defeat and another red card last weekend was the catalyst for throwing away a two-goal lead at home to Blackburn Rovers to end up with a point.
In both games, Rotherham have had less than 30% of the possession, so we should all expect the Lads to have plenty of the ball this afternoon, it’s whether or not we do something with it that will dictate if the visitors take something home with them to South Yorkshire.
The bookies have the Lads as firm favourites this afternoon at 13/20, while Rotherham are priced at 4/1, and the draw is around 11/4.
Head to head... at Sunderland
- Sunderland wins: 9
- Draws: 5
- Rotherham United wins: 1
- Sunderland goals: 33
- Rotherham United goals: 8
Last time we met... at the Stadium of Light
Wednesday 31st August 2022
Sunderland 3-0 Rotherham United
[Stewart 52’, 65’, Clarke 70’]
Sunderland: Patterson, O’Nien, Batth, Cirkin, Gooch, Evans, Neil (Embleton), Clarke (Wright), Pritchard (Roberts), Simms, Stewart Substitutes not used: Bass, Hume, Alese, Matete
Rotherham United: Johansson, Norton-Cuffy, Ferguson (High), Harding (McCart), Wood, Peltier, Rathbone, Barlaser (Lindsay), Ogbene (Kelly), Washington (Eaves), Wiles Substitutes not used: Vickers, Odoffin
Played for both...
Scott began his career at Rotherham United in the late-1980s before moving to Bristol City in 1990. After four years at Ashton Gate, Mick Buxton brought the full-back to Wearside in a deal that saw Gary Owers move in the opposite direction.
Scott was forced to retire in 2000 through injury and had a spell as manager of Hartlepool United in 2005.