Lee Johnson delivers this verdict as Lincoln City hold Sunderland to a draw

Lee Johnson said he would not be criticial of his Sunderland side after they battled their way to a point against a lively Lincoln City.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 5:38 pm

The Black Cats took a valuable lead into the break thanks to a Callum McFadzean header, but were pegged back in the second half by a fine strike from West Brom loanee Callum Morton.

Both sides threw bodies forward in search of a winner but the draw was a fair reflection of a tight contest.

With Peterborough United and Hull City drawing in their fixtures, it's as you were in terms of the race for automatic promotion.

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Sunderland Head Coach Lee Johnson
Sunderland Head Coach Lee Johnson

"They've had a couple of chances, Burgey has had to make a couple of saves," Johnson said.

"We've probably just shaded it in terms of possession and dangerous attacks, but at the same time they've got real threats on the counter.

"They've got youth, they've got brightness and they're a difficult side to play against because of that.

"They stretch you.

"We don't like losing leads and that is disappointing. We don't make many mistakes and it's one mistake that's led to the goal, one mistake in seven or eight games really.

"I'm not going to be too critical, that's for sure.

"They've put in a massive shift over the last few weeks and today, it's human nature to look at other results, so it's nothing lost and nothing gained in terms of the top six."

Sunderland pushed for a winner but Lee Burge had to be at his best in an open end to the game.

Johnson admits his side lost his shape in those moments and feels fatigue may well have been a factor in that.

The Head Coach is pleased his side will have a chance to recover from a punishing schedule as they have no game in midweek.

"You could hear me on the sideline in the last fifteen or 20 minutes, we didn't quite have that zip about us," he said.

"That's because they stretch you, it's draining when you mark pace.

"They've done well with their loans and it's difficult to play against.

"Generally we dealt with most of their threats but in the last 20 where we needed to up, we didn't stay as disciplined maybe as we have been.

"That's credit to them, and maybe a little bit down to fatigue.

"The lads have a couple of days off now then on Tuesday we're going to arrange a behind closed doors game as there are a couple who need minutes topping up," he added.

"Then it's about the final sprint, really.

"It's not a massive rest but it's something, and in training we can actually work, rather than just recover.

WWe’re just thinking about cracking on with the next performance. What do we need to do? What were the strong points in our performance today, and what are the bits we need to work on? The good thing is we have got that week now to work on things.

"We’ll go to Bristol Rovers fully prepared, and hope to put in another energetic, bright, busy performance.”