Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunderland: Player ratings as Black Cats cut adrift at the bottom

An injury to Ndong left Sunderland struggling
An injury to Ndong left Sunderland struggling
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Sunderland enter the international break bottom of the league after a 1-0 defeat at the Riverside.

Here's how they rated...

ROBBIN RUITER

Made a fine save in the second half to deny Braithwaite and would have expected to snuff out the danger for the first goal. Looked comfortable at set-pieces. 6

BILLY JONES (Matthews, 27)

Injured in a collision with Darron Gibson and replaced early on. Booked for a late challenge on George Friend and couldn't get tight enough to Tavernier to prevent the first goal. 3

JOHN O'SHEA

Kone's absence from the squad and in injury to Tyias Browning meant Sunderland continued with the same defensive partnership, vulnerable to quick attacks and struggling to keep clean sheets. 5

MARC WILSON

Struggled to dominate Middlesbrough attackers and gave a number of fouls away. Spine of the Sunderland side clearly lacked pace and laboured. 4

BRYAN OVIEDO

Again one of Sunderland's more reliable performers but offered little going forward. 6

PADDY McNAIR (Williams, 77)

Struggled in a more advanced role, unable to dictate play as he would like. Couldn't make much of an impact on Sunderland's attacking play. 5

LEE CATTERMOLE

Booked for a rash challenge just before the interval which affected his influence in the second half. Not a convincing display on his return to the side. 4

DARRON GIBSON

Rarely gave possession away but offered little incision and again faded as the game progressed. Long balls too easy to defend against for Daniel Ayala in stoppage time. 4

DIDIER NDONG (Honeyman, 54)

Moved out wide and was by far Sunderland's busiest player. Roamed and won the ball back well but his tenacity was missed in the central areas where Sunderland had little dynamism. 6

AIDEN McGEADY

Ineffectual for the most part, though did close to testing Randolph with an effort from range. Not offering the same threat as in the early stages of the season. 5

LEWIS GRABBAN

Denied by a fine save from Randolph just minutes into the game but will know he should have done better. As with Defoe last season, too often left isolated up front and with no support when chasing the ball into the channels. 5

Subs

ADAM MATTHEWS

Brought more solidity to Sunderland's defence and a brighter outlet going forward. 6

GEORGE HONEYMAN

Unable to make any impact on the game. 5

JONNY WILLIAMS

As with Honeyman, couldn't get on the ball and affect proceedings. 5

Unused: Steele, Rodwell, McManaman, Gooch

Boro XI: Randolph; Christie, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Leadbitter (Forshaw, 84) , Howson; Downing, Braithwaite, Tavernier (Johnson, 64); Assombalonga (Fletcher, 80)

Unused Subs: Dimi, Fabio, Shotton, Fletcher, Traore

Bookings: Jones, 17 Cattermole, 44 McGeady, 60 Christie, 63 Wilson, 76

Attendance: 29, 277