Tying Lynden Gooch down to new deal key plus five other things learned from Sunderland's dramatic draw at Walsall

Sunderland produced a stunning comeback to rescue a point at Walsall in League One.

Sunday, 25th November 2018, 12:09 pm
Updated Sunday, 25th November 2018, 12:15 pm
Lynden Gooch celebrates his late goal against Walsall.

Here's what we learned from the 2-2 draw at the Banks's Stadium.

Max Power’s third red card in four league starts certainly divided opinion.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

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Jack Ross was adamant it wasn’t a sending off, many Sunderland fans agreed as did Walsall boss Dean Keates. However, there was also a large percentage that felt it was worthy of a red and in those cases when opinion is so divided, appeals often fail.

If it does, then Power will miss five games, meaning he’ll have missed 15 games (including Checkatrade Trophy) before Christmas. Unbelievable.

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Read more: Phil Smith's verdict on Max Power red card and Walsall comeback

New system worth pursuing

Sunderland fans and players celebrate the late goal. Pictures by Frank Reid.

Jack Ross is not afraid to mix it up and the Scot sprung something of a surprise at Walsall, moving away from the usual 4-2-3-1 system to 4-4-2 with Lynden Gooch partnering Josh Maja in attack.

Walsall couldn’t cope with Sunderland, the Black Cats dominating the play and possession, they had 80 per cent of the ball until Power’s sending off changed the game.

The new system is one worth pursuing, provided Sunderland can keep 11 men on the pitch.

Lynden Gooch has proved to be Mr Versatile for Sunderland this campaign.

The 22-year-old now has five goals to his name, his equaliser against Walsall an excellent finish in a high-pressured situation, turning before shooting low into the corner of the net past Liam Roberts. Gooch also has eight assists to his name.

Gooch is in the final year of his contract, tying him down to a new deal is a must.

Corners need to improve

Sunderland won 14 corners against Walsall, the majority of them coming in the opening half hour.

It was an incredible period which saw Sunderland well on top but unable to capitalise on the pressure they were creating.

Sunderland rarely looked a threat from corners and that is an area for improvement on the training ground at the Academy of Light.

Sunderland need to get back to winning ways.

After consecutive draws in League One, the gap to leaders Portsmouth has crept to four points.

The two sides face each other on the final weekend before Christmas. What a game that is going to be.

League One is proving incredibly competitive; Portsmouth top on 41 points, Sunderland second with 37 and then three teams on 35 - Barnsley, Luton and Peterborough United.

Luke O’Nien must be close to a start.

With Max Power facing another lengthy spell watching from the sidelines, Lee Cattermole still out with a foot problem and Dylan McGeouch to be assessed ahead of the visit of Barnsley, O’Nien must be close to a start.

The ex-Wycombe Wanderers midfielder added energy against Walsall, helping stretch the play and his sheer doggedness played a key part in Aiden McGeady’s goal.