Sunderland's shambolic season unravelling at an alarming rate: What we learned from dire Gillingham defeat
Sunderland’s shambolic season has unravelled at an alarming rate in the weeks since Phil Parkinson was appointed, the man tasked with leading the club to promotion.
Instead, after eight defeats in 12 in all competitions, the Black Cats - dumped out of all three cup competitions - are 11th in League One, five points adrift of the play-offs and a whopping 10 off the automatic places.
Parkinson rolled the dice at Gillingham with six changes and it backfired. Here’s what we learned:
Sunderland had set up for a point
It was deeply dispiriting that the season has reached this stage, that a point away at Gillingham would be classed as a good point. They couldn’t even manage that.
Steve Evans’ Gillingham side should hold no fear yet Parkinson made six changes and started with a back five.
And it was very much a back five with little forward runs from the wingbacks.
The plan seemed to be keep Gillingham at bay for as long as possible and then throw on Charlie Wyke and try and snatch a win. How did it reach this stage?
Why did it take so long for Chris Maguire to be brought on?
Sunderland were trailing when Maguire was finally sent on, two minutes into added-on time.
Too little, too late.
A section of fans chanted ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ at Parkinson.
He hadn’t heard it but it was the second game running fans have made their feelings known, the players booed off.
Why were Aiden McGeady and Duncan Watmore not unleashed?
The duo weren’t even sent out to warm up during the second half, there was seemingly no intention of bringing them on. Why not?
McGeady and Watmore have not been in the best of form, granted, yet they both possess enough quality to change a game.
Hume unlucky and a final decision must be made on the No1 spot.
Parkinson sprung a surprise with Jon McLaughlin recalled, his overall performance steady.
Sunderland cannot continue to chop and change keepers. Make a decision and stick to it.
Hume was desperately unlucky to miss out, the left-wing back role is ideally suited to his game.
Another decision that backfired.