Fans vent anger at Ellis Short, Neil Warnock gets better of Sunderland boss plus four other things learned from Cardiff defeat

Sunderland's dismal run at the Stadium of Light shows no sign of ending anytime soon with Cardiff City the latest team to depart with all three points.

Saturday, 23rd September 2017, 10:08 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd September 2017, 10:15 pm
Sunderland goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter in action.

The 2-1 home defeat sees the Black Cats drop into the bottom three of the Championship.

Here's what we learned from the game:

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.

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Sunderland were well and truly Warnock-ed:

Simon Grayson was keen to stress the point post-match that just hours before the game the coaching staff had reminded the players of the specific threat posed by Neil Warnock's side.

They didn't heed the advice. And within seven minutes Craig Bryson had opened the scoring, Cardiff taking the direct approach and Sunderland were unable to defend the danger.

Credit to Cardiff they fully deserved the win and the lead should have been extended before the break.

Lynden Gooch celebrates his penalty.

Once Joe Ralls' penalty saw them regain the lead, they did an expert job on seeing the game out.

Clever time-wasting at every opportunity, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge taking that bit longer on every goal kick, players from the far side of the field being subbed late on etc etc.

All the tricks of the trade. Experience and nous goes a long way at this level. Sunderland need to learn quickly.

Crowd make feelings towards Ellis Short known. Again.

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.

It took all of seven minutes - when Cardiff scored the opening goal - for the chants towards owner Ellis Short to start.

Now a regular occurrence at home games, fans chanted 'Are you watching Ellis Short' as their side once again fell behind.

After a few minutes of chanting and boos, the fans did then get behind their team and were rewarded when Gooch levelled from the spot in the second half.

As soon as Cardiff regained the lead, Sunderland never looked like getting back into it and there were further chants of 'Short Out' - fans angry with the situation the club is in both on and off the pitch.

Lynden Gooch celebrates his penalty.

Sunderland drop into the relegation zone:

New division. Same old problems. Sunderland can't win at home and once they go behind, then the chances are they won't be getting anything from the game.

From their last six league games, Sunderland have lost five and taken just a single point - at Hull City. A dreadful run of form and one which has seen them drop into the bottom three.

Very worrying and the alarm bells are rightly sounding.

It is, though, still early in the season but Sunderland have to be mindful a significant gap doesn't start to develop. They are already four points off 16th-placed Millwall.

Sunderland hit with pre-match double whammy:

You could hear the groans as the teams were announced when it was confirmed that neither Callum McManaman or Jonny Williams had made the starting line-up.

McManaman, who took part in a fitness test on the Stadium of Light turf before kick-off, missed out with a tight groin while Williams was ill and not fit to play.

It meant Sunderland were without two of the players rested for the Everton cup defeat, or at least benched for the night. And the Black Cats desperately missed their creative spark.

Billy Jones also missed out through injury. There was brighter news with Marc Wilson, John O'Shea and Aiden McGeady fit to be part of the squad.

But McManaman and Williams, two players who have impressed most since signing, were badly missed.

Simon Grayson forced into a formation change mid-match:

You can either praise the manager for being proactive enough to change the system mid-match when it became clear early on it wasn't working.

Or you can criticise him for getting it wrong in the first place.

Either way, Sunderland started with a back five with Tyias Browning, Lamine Kone and Marc Wilson at centre-back and Adam Matthews and Bryan Oviedo in the wing-back roles.

But they soon changed to a flat-back four with Adam Matthews switched to left back and Bryan Oviedo moved into left wing, Browning at right-back.

Sunderland looked more comfortable in that system and enjoyed their best spell of the game after the first half switch around was made.

Grayson has tried to play a back three on three occasions this season and it is yet to work seamlessly, with changes to the system always having to be made.

Lynden Gooch and James Vaughan worked hard up front:

They wouldn't be your first choice pairing but needs must and the pair linked up well and both worked their socks off all game.

Vaughan was becoming increasingly fed-up and frustrated with the aimless long balls towards him but he kept plugging away, the crowd appreciative of his efforts.

Gooch, alongside him, won and then dispatched the penalty, while he also made a conscious effort to close down the Cardiff defence and goalkeeper when the Bluebirds had possession.

Their partnership was one of the few positives.