After Covid-19 halted football altogether, it made a comeback in early September, bringing joy and much-needed positivity to fans worldwide.
Phil Parkinson’s team felt somewhat aggrieved by the point-per-game system that determined the teams eligible for the previous season’s play-offs. Now, they were considered one of the favorites for promotion in their third attempt in this league.
The Sunderland signings leading up to the new season were somewhat underwhelming. Parkinson brought in journeymen such as Aiden O’Brien, Danny Graham, and Callum McFadzean, giving a clear indication of the style of play he intended to implement.
Having garnered four points from the first two games, Parkinson’s side entered the match with hopes of maintaining an unbeaten start against the highly-touted Peterborough United.
Once again, the Stadium of Light sat empty for the encounter. It remained a surreal sight, devoid of life and atmosphere. However, the voices of Frankie Francis and Danny Collins in our homes were becoming a trademark of the upcoming season.
The match itself was an end-to-end affair, with neither team creating a plethora of opportunities.
Sunderland’s striking trio of Charlie Wyke, Lynden Gooch, and Chris Maguire had a quiet game, managing to create only a few half-chances.
The visitors enjoyed the better of the early chances, with Siriki Dembele and Jonson Clarke-Harris both testing the home side’s goalkeeper, Lee Burge.
It wasn’t until the second half that the home side began to create substantial opportunities. Wyke found himself behind the Posh defense for a half-chance, while Luke O’Nien headed Denver Hume’s cross over from ten yards.
Lee Burge, who had a solid performance throughout, denied Jack Taylor from 20 yards, and Louis Reed rattled the crossbar with a thunderous free-kick.
With our attacking trio (along with substitute Danny Graham) misfiring, it took one of our youngest and oldest players to rescue us late in the game. Denver Hume’s driving runs in the Peterborough area consistently caused problems.
With just under ten minutes remaining, Hume was brought down by Jack Taylor, and Leadbitter stepped up to secure a Sunderland victory from the penalty spot.
Hume was one of the few players who seemed to thrive under Phil Parkinson’s management and earned the man of the match award in this game, with one match report singing his praises.
Sunderland’s most consistent player. One of his best days crossing the ball in red and white, Hume has massively improved as a tackler this term too. His run to win Sunderland’s penalty highlighted everything good about his performance, he displayed excellent skill and determination to force the referee into a decision.
Despite continuous issues with Sunderland’s style of play under Parkinson, the team was looking solid and still winning games early on.
However, it wouldn’t take long for these things to change.