Gary Rowell: Lincoln display was atrocious, shambolic, embarrassing and must prove a one-off or Sunderland could face mid-table obscurity

Sunderland produced a performance at Lincoln that can go alongside other shocking away performances they have produced recently at Peterborough and Bolton.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 5:00 pm
Jon McLaughlin calls for a foul in the 2-0 defeat to Lincoln City.

Words like atrocious, shambolic and embarrassing have been used to describe their efforts at Sincil Bank and I don’t think the players or the managers or his staff can argue too much with those descriptions.

After morale-boosting wins in their two previous games against Sheffield United and MK Dons and a rare week without a midweek game I thought the players would be refreshed, energised and full of belief and confidence.

How wrong can you be? Instead they looked lethargic and timid as Lincoln were the better team all over the pitch.

Lincoln are a team, remember, who lost their last home league game 6-0 but Sunderland never put them under the slightest bit of pressure as the Imps couldn’t have wished for more accommodating, lacklustre opponents to help them erase the memory of that massive home defeat just a couple of weeks ago.

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So, where do Sunderland go from here?

Well, with next Saturday’s game postponed, and no league game for two weeks, until a tough trip to high-flying Wycombe were there will be no guarantees, they can only drop further down the table with the danger of slipping into mid-table obscurity.

Back in the Premier League days when constantly battling against relegation we used to jokingly say how well a season of mid-table mediocrity would be but that would be disastrous in League One, totally unacceptable and can’t be allowed to happen.

Were there any positives from Saturday? You would have to dig deep to find them but somehow for now, at least, we are only four points off an automatic promotion spot and we haven’t even got going yet but on Saturday no, it was a game to forget for everybody.