Echo Jury: Gary Harrison looks back at Saturday’s game at Stoke City

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THE stalemate I expected, without the goals – a problem for both sides currently. But Saturday leaves Sunderland with only six goals.

It’s hard to know how bold O’Neill’s decision to drop Sessègnon really was. There was no second striker in his place so the philosophy never really changed. It could also be argued, he was rested ahead of Boro in midweek. To be fair, our first opportunity only arrived when he came on from the bench.

Fletcher’s hold-up play again was good, but he was virtually starved of chances. Give him the ball in the right area and he’ll convert chances to goals. There was a handball which could have given us a penalty.

When I hear the complaints regarding lack of goals, it’s really the creativity that’s missing.

Perhaps it was more a game for defenders rather than forwards to shine. Sunderland remained tight, and Mignolet was forced to react on a couple of occasions.

One thing which must be pointed out, it’s still early days in O’Neill’s building project and this week could yet prove a defining moment in our season.

To read the rest of the Echo Jury, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.