Sunderland deserve credit for League One form but need to be more ruthless to achieve promotion dreams

Duncan Watmore in action against Charlton.
Duncan Watmore in action against Charlton.
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I am still not sure what to make of Sunderland’s game with Charlton.

They should have had it wrapped up in a first half they dominated yet could easily have lost it in the second half as Charlton had Jack Ross’ men on the back foot, so I suppose the draw was the right outcome.

A point down at The Valley is not to be dismissed, but as with so many draws this season it could have been better with more clinical finishing and a more ruthless attitude.

Nobody in League One has lost less games than Sunderland’s two, a commendable effort, but equally nobody has drawn more than Sunderland has and how many of those nine draws this season really should have been wins?

Quite a few, I think, and those points squandered would have us top now.

So often Sunderland start slowly, but not on Saturday against Charlton, where they came out all guns blazing, grabbed an early lead with a brilliant goal – made by one full-back and scored by the other – and made Charlton look average, which they are not, especially at home.

However, by failing to get that second goal – and they were unlucky not to – especially when Lynden Gooch hit the bar, they never managed to kill the game off and you just knew Charlton would always have a productive spell.

It might sound like harsh criticism to complain about not winning at a place where the opponents have just reeled off five straight wins but when you are bossing the game as Sunderland were and playing so well, you have to make it count.

The effort the players are putting in is enormous, absolutely no complaints there and even in the second half in the closing stages, Sunderland were dangerous and could have won it on the counter attack.

That was mainly down to Duncan Watmore, who frightened the Charlton back four when he came on, looking just like the youngster who burst on the scene so impressively a few years ago.

He could – and maybe should – have scored what would have been a winner near the end but it was so encouraging to see his pace getting him into those positions behind defences like he used to, and there is no other club in this league with a player like Duncan to bring off the bench.

All in all then, we are grateful for a point but at the same time knowing it could have been all three.

Bittersweet, as Jack Ross summed it up, and not many would disagree with that.