Wise Men Say: Positive signs in Millwall game for Coleman to build upon

We did it.

Monday, 20th November 2017, 3:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:13 am
A Sunderland fan suffers during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Millwall. Picture by Frank Reid

Sunderland have broken the record for the longest run of home games without a home victory in the history of English football.

It’s another fine accolade to add to our increasingly interesting recent history, as the 20th game without a win was notched with a 2-2 draw at home to a fairly poor Millwall side.

It was a game littered with comical goalkeeping mistakes, as neither stopper did much to suggest they had actually played in goal before.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Lewis Grabban’s opener, lashed in a after a fumble from Jordan Archer, came after a bright start from Sunderland and looked to set the scene for maybe, just maybe, a home victory.

Well, the lead did indeed last longer than it did against Bolton, but not by much.

Inexplicably, Robbin Ruiter allowed a tame George Saville free-kick to squirm through his hands into the net and then unbelievably allowed another from an identical position to beat him and give Millwall the lead.

It was another example of the Sunderland keeper struggling on his left side.

Those two Millwall goals took the wind out of Sunderland’s sails, and we somehow after a bright start were trailing 2-1.

Two first-half injuries didn’t help matters either and it was particularly worrying to see Watmore forced off.

Sunderland were level minutes after half-time after Adam Matthews’ cross caused more issues for Archer as he fumbled it in.

To their credit, Sunderland could have won the game with a little more luck and composure.

Grabban had a goal ruled out and also was inches away from connecting with a cross, and McManaman fired over at right at the death.

With Chris Coleman incoming, in my opinion, the players have shown there is plenty for him to work with.

McManaman had his best Sunderland game on Saturday, Grabban scored again, and Paddy McNair increasingly looks like the player we have been missing in the middle.

We have a big game away at Aston Villa tomorrow and it will be important for the new boss to start his reign positively.

The suspension of the improved Lee Cattermole is a blow, especially with the other midfield absentees.

The goalkeeping debacle is also a major concern and may well force Coleman into the free agent market.

As stated, there is plenty to work with.

Robbie Stockdale seemed to get a lot more out of the bunch than in previous weeks, but we really need to start winning games quickly before we become adrift of the teams above us.

There finally seems to be a glimmer of positivity with the new managerial appointment, something people weren’t expecting, and hopefully this can translate into results on the pitch.

Looking at the games in the coming week, Sunderland should be looking at taking four points from the trips to Villa and Burton Albion.

Bringing that back to the Stadium of Light ahead of the Reading game would be a great start and then who knows, we just might get that long-awaited home win.

Well, we can dream.

*The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes