Rowell Report: Sunderland’s reluctance to go for the jugular has cost them dearly

Jermain Defoe celebrates with his team mates after firing Sunderland ahead at St Jamess Park.
Jermain Defoe celebrates with his team mates after firing Sunderland ahead at St Jamess Park.

Sunderland’s inability to hang onto a lead and keep a clean sheet cost them dear against Newcastle as precious points were thrown away – yet again.

For the second away game running, a late goal has denied Sunderland victory as we continue to be our own worst enemies.

After dominating the first 45 minutes on Sunday, I couldn’t work out Sunderland’s second half performance where they got deeper and deeper, sitting back and inviting the opposition to come forward, which ended, inevitably, with a Newcastle equaliser.

I couldn’t have been happier at half-time, it was a text-book first 45 minutes and Sam Allardyce would have thought everything is going exactly to plan.

Sunderland were handling the occasion and the expected Newcastle early charge, and then went onto control large parts of the game before breaking the deadlock just before half-time.

A goal to the good and with the opposition’s confidence low, the hard work was done and that is when we should have been clinical, but for some reason we seemed to be reluctant to go for the jugular and paid the price.

Sunderland put so much into the game, there was nothing wrong with their effort.

But Younes Kaboul and Wahbi Khazri having to go off and Jan Kirchhoff tiring resulted in changes that upset our rhythm.

Kirchhoff was the best player on the field before running out of steam and that is when Newcastle started to get more joy in midfield, which led to them getting back into midfield.

A failure to kill off teams when controlling games is becoming more than just coincidence now and who knows how damaging that could be in the long term.

The draw on Sunday keeps the unbeaten record against Newcastle, but it should have been so much more as we could have been talking about seven wins in a row.

If only we had been more ruthless.