Frustrated Jack Ross calls for improvement as Sunderland pegged back at Scunthorpe for 11th draw of season
Jack Ross was left deeply frustrated by Sunderland's 11th draw of the season after they were again pegged back from a leading position.
Josh Maja nodded Sunderland ahead with his 16th of the season, a brilliant header at the near post.
But Scunthorpe United, who had won their previous four League One games, proved a tough opponent all afternoon and eventually got back into the game in the 87th minute, sub Adam Hammill with a wonderful finish past Jon McLaughlin from distance.
It leaves Sunderland third in the table, league leaders Portsmouth were beaten but Luton Town ran out comfortable winners over Peterborough United.
This was Sunderland's 11th draw of the season and it is harming the Black Cats' automatic promotion hopes.
Ross said: “We didn't deserve to win the game in terms of performance.
"But having got ourselves ahead and looked relatively comfortable for periods of the second half we should win it.
“We didn’t play well, particularly first half, and then having got ourselves in a winning position we don’t see the game out again.
“Collectively we need to get better at winning games from winning positions and keeping more clean sheets.
“We haven’t kept enough clean sheets this season. That criticism is not just aimed at defenders, goalkeeper, the team, it is aimed at all of us, me and my staff included.
“We are not doing it enough and we need to get better at it. It could be the thing that separates us from getting what we want this season and not.
“You have seen that how the table is panning out. We are still in an alright position but missed opportunities because we have had an inability to keep clean sheets.”
Ross is targeting automatic promotion with Sunderland this season and is understandably keen to avoid the lottery of the play-offs.
Ross added: “Frustration is a good word for it. It is striving to put it right.
“Buck always stays with me. The players accept their own responsibility, we are not doing well enough.
“They don’t need to come out and say it, I will say that.
“We need to get better. And make sure we do it better over the next 20 or so games.
“If not, we are a toss of a coin away from getting what we want.
“If we do then we will get to where we want. We are not far off it. It is only two defeats. That tells one story. But 11 draws tells another.
“We need to get better."