Sunderland's second half collapse plus Jack Ross' Will Grigg headache are major concerns: Six things learned from Fleetwood loss

Sunderland striker Will Grigg pictured before the Fleetwood Town defeat.
Sunderland striker Will Grigg pictured before the Fleetwood Town defeat.
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The final nail was hammered into the coffin of Sunderland’s League One automatic promotion hopes with a late 2-1 defeat at Fleetwood Town.

Here’s what we learned from the game at Highbury Stadium.

Chris Maguire takes on the Fleetwood Town defence.

Chris Maguire takes on the Fleetwood Town defence.

Sunderland’s shocking second half display a real concern.

The club’s automatic promotion hopes were slim at best heading into the game, six points adrift with only two to play yet Sunderland started the game with real purpose.

The Black Cats dominated the first half yet crucially missed four golden opportunities. They came back to bite. Hard.

Lee Cattermole’s opener cancelled out by Joey Barton’s side following a much improved display after reverting to a back four.

Fleetwood Town scored a 95th minute winner against Sunderland.

Fleetwood Town scored a 95th minute winner against Sunderland.

Sunderland were dire second half, lost all control, threatened little and were cut open twice, once in open play and the other from a corner routine.

Nowhere near good enough.

Will Grigg form a headache for Jack Ross.

The £4million January deadline day signing is yet to live up to his price tag or reputation with just five goals to his name so far.

A combination of an ongoing ankle injury and poor form isn’t helping him or Sunderland. Jack Ross said as much post-match, he is expecting more from his No.1 striker.

Sunderland need him now more than ever with the play-offs to navigate.

Lee Cattermole impressed first half but Lynden Gooch anonymous.

Cattermole scored his seventh goal of the campaign to give Sunderland the lead, heading home Lewis Morgan’s corner.

It was just reward following a dominating display from him in the opening 45 minutes, Cattermole constantly organising, winning second balls, crucial interventions and cajoling his teammates.

Second half his influence faded but it was in stark contrast to Lynden Gooch who was fairly anonymous throughout. Decision making continues to let him down.

Plenty of graft but little end product.

Sunderland deserve to be where they are.

Ultimately, Sunderland have come up short this season. Despite all the talk about winning the league, or automatic promotion, Sunderland will end the season exactly where they deserve to.

In the play-offs.

And the Sunderland faithful will now have to gear themselves up for the most dramatic and tension-filled of play-off semi-finals in the weeks to come.

Sunderland’s opponents yet to be determined with one game to play and the Black Cats can still finish as high as third and as low as fifth.

Sunderland fans show their displeasure - on the terraces and Twitter.

The Sunderland players and manager Jack Ross were getting both barrels on social media in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.

Tactics, team selection, subs, results, performances all coming under fire.

The players applauded the fans at the end and got a mix of applause and abuse back. Tensions run high at full-time, the Fleetwood fans were celebrating wildly, this a major scalp for them.

Several of their supporters ran on to the pitch when the winning header hit the net.

Sunderland have a lot of making up to do with their support after all this defeat was dismal, a dire second half when the Black Cats needed to win.

Jack Ross reads the riot act.

The Scot is usually very cool, calm and composed post-match regardless of the result, never getting too high when they win or too low when they lose.

The tone was different stood pitchside near the dugouts post-match, Ross was fuming.

Angry at the way his players had let more points slip, their lack of control second half, the way they so easily let Fleetwood snatch a win, the lack of controlled aggression from his players.

The ongoing concern over not scoring enough at one end and conceding too many at the other is a recipe for disaster.

Ross let his players know exactly what he thought and there now needs to be a big reaction to spark them into life heading into the play-offs.