Bruising point, injury concerns and big improvement needed for Barnsley test: Six things learned from dramatic Sunderland Wycombe draw
Sunderland’s dramatic point at Wycombe Wanderers had just about everything; goals, late drama, red cards, injuries and a melee.
Here’s what we learned from the 1-1 draw at Adams Park.
Point comes at a cost for Sunderland.
Duncan Watmore’s brilliantly taken equaliser rescued a point at the death for a Sunderland side that simply doesn’t know when it’s beaten.
But the point on the road came at a cost. George Honeyman facing a three-game ban, and will miss the Checkatrade Trophy.
Watmore taken off with an ankle injury after an awful challenge from Marcus Bean, with Tom Flanagan suffering a head injury. Both big doubts for the trip to Barnsley.
With tensions mounting as the clock ticked down, a Wycombe coach booted the ball away with Sunderland looking to take a quick throw-in.
Honeyman reacted, pushing and shoving from both sides ensued and in the end Honeyman and Nathan Tyson both saw red for their reactions.
A three-game ban in the offing unless Sunderland appeal, Jack Ross didn’t sound overly confident on that front post-match.
As a result of the Fleetwood game now being switched, Honeyman will miss the Checkatrade Trophy final as a result, a devastating blow for him personally.
Concern over Watmore injury.
Watmore, who had come on as a sub, did brilliantly to react as Ryan Allsop spilled Grant Leadbitter’s long-range effort. Slamming the ball home.
The celebrations something to behold. One image, in particular, showed the Sunderland fans in ecstasy as Watmore wheeled away in celebration.
To then see him hobble off after an awful Marcus Bean challenge was a worrying sight, given he has been out for the best part of two years.
Sunderland still in a good position.
Yes, Sunderland were dire, first half especially. Yes, it was a rare off day. Yes, the defence looked all at sea, at times.
But Sunderland are still in a strong position and that point could yet prove a big one.
Barnsley beat Accrington Stanley 2-0 to heap more pressure on Tuesday night’s game but Sunderland have now scored in their last 43 league games and are unbeaten in 17, third with a game in hand still.
They showed tremendous character and resilience at Adams Park to get anything.
Big improvement needed for Tuesday evening though, they can't afford to lose it if they want automatic promotion.
With Honeyman set to start his suspension and Duncan Watmore a doubt with an ankle injury, and Chris Maguire already out injured, Ross’ options are limited.
Lynden Gooch will be the frontrunner to replace Honeyman, with Dylan McGeouch and Max Power other options if Ross reverts to a midfield three alongside Lee Cattermole and Grant Leadbitter.
Wycombe dragged Sunderland down to their level.
Time-wasting, diving, an overly-physical approach, Wycombe know every trick in the book and Sunderland couldn’t cope with it, they got dragged into a battle and Wycombe were winning until Watmore’s superb finish under pressure.
Wycombe have a way of playing and make no apologies for it.
Sunderland needed to be smarter but had little to no control all afternoon, the midfield bypassed for much of it.
Lessons to be learnt and quickly with the clock running down on the season.