Sunderland lose ground and injury exposes dilemma plus four other things learned from abandoned Accrington Stanley game

Sunderland's game at Accrington Stanley was abandoned after 73 minutes at the Wham Stadium.

Sunday, 9th December 2018, 09:27 am
Updated Sunday, 9th December 2018, 09:40 am
Josh Maja.

Here's what we learned from the game, which was called off with the scoreline level at 1-1.

Sunderland lose ground

Sunderland slipped out of the League One automatic promotion places after the game at the Wham Stadium was abandoned.

Promotion rivals Luton Town and league leaders Portsmouth - who Sunderland play the Saturday before Christmas - have both won their last four league games.

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Sunderland have two games in hand over Luton but have slipped a place to third, a point from second.

With an already congested fixture list added to following the abandonment, Sunderland face an increasingly hectic schedule.

Adam Matthews’ injury highlights lack of depth at right-back.

Sub Bryan Oviedo replaced Matthews but the Costa Rican isn’t a right-back and with Donald Love out for a couple of months, Sunderland are light on options at full back.

Tom Flanagan could move across, with either Glenn Loovens or Alim Ozturk coming into the side should Matthews face a spell out.

But it is no surprise Jack Ross is considering a defensive January addition.

George Honeyman continues to shine.

The conditions were dreadful and despite both sides showing an early desire to play on the deck, it became increasingly difficult.

This was to be an afternoon for tenacious, dogged, determined performances.

And skipper Honeyman - back in the side after an ankle knock - excelled again.

Owner Stewart Donald suggested in the run up to the match that Honeyman, in the final year of his contract, had already triggered another year due to games played.

Good news for Sunderland fans.

Aiden McGeady shows his class. Again.

The conditions meant free-flowing attacking football was always going to be difficult.

Yet, one of the star performers was in-form Aiden McGeady, who had scored six goals in seven games prior to the trip to the Wham Stadium.

Arguably Sunderland’s best player, McGeady’s class continues to shine through, he had the beating of his man all day.

Unlucky with a first half volley after good work from Josh Maja.

Sub helped turn the game...briefly

It mattered for nothing in the end but Jack Ross made an inspired sub midway through the second half.

The Scot replaced Maja, who had little impact on proceedings, and replaced him with Luke O’Nien.

It allowed Maguire to move more centrally and the goal came two minutes later, relentless Maguire closing down on-loan Boro keeper Connor Ripley to score the opener.

Shame the goal will be struck from the records with the two sides having to meet again in the New Year.

To tinker for FA Cup replay?

Ross must weigh up whether to make changes to his Sunderland side for the visit of Walsall in the FA Cup second round replay tomorrow night.

With Chris Maguire and George Honeyman back at Accrington, Sunderland were almost at full strength. The bench was strong too.

Yet the awful conditions and heavy pitch will have meant the Sunderland squad will certainly feel that they put a tough shift in despite the game only lasting 73 minutes.

It will be interesting to see if Ross keeps faith with that XI or tinkers for the visit of the Saddlers given Sunderland have another game so soon.

At least they have good options.