Gary Rowell: Sunderland need to make their own luck and there is a worrying pattern emerging away from home
Sunderland’s poor away form continued at Shrewsbury Town with a third consecutive defeat and it has completely devalued and taken the shine off that great midweek win over Tranmere.
There is no way the players could have gone into the Shrewsbury game in a better frame of mind, they scored five against Tranmere, kept a first league clean sheet and produced the sort of display that suggested it was the start of better things to come.
If there is one thing you need for automatic promotion, it is consistency, but with Sunderland it is one extreme to the other and the Shrewsbury result has quickly brought everyone back down to earth with a massive bump.
I’d have been disappointed with a draw on Saturday, I saw this game as very winnable so to come away with nothing at all is more than frustrating.
Phil Parkinson made just one change from Tranmere and that was forced on him with Lynden Gooch’s injury and with Aiden McGeady replacing him, the team shouldn’t have been weakened in anyway.
However, while McGeady certainly wasn’t at his best, I don’t agree that as he was the only change to a winning team he must be to blame.
There was far more to it than that and with the benefit of hindsight it might have been better to give Duncan Watmore a rest as it looked like he hit a wall at Shrewsbury, perhaps one game too many in a busy week for everybody, never mind somebody who has been through what he has.
I have got to say that luck did not go Sunderland’s way as well.
While not trying to make excuses in any way hitting the woodwork three times was cruel and on another day we might have salvaged a point.
As the saying goes, though, you have to make your own luck and there is a pattern emerging away from home that is certainly not a good one.