Sunderland's woes deepen as latest insipid defeat to Blackpool extends winless run to seven

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Sunderland’s woes deepened on Tuesday night after a stunning strike from Sullay Kaikai left them winless in seven games.

A late equaliser for Accrington at Portsmouth left their top-six hopes largely intact, but few will be relishing those end of season games with Sunderland’s form as it is.

Blackpool created little through the contest, but it will be of a major concern to Sunderland that they created so little in response to falling behind early in the second half.

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Their threat was largely confined to set pieces and in though there was a late siege of the Blackpool game, it proved too little, too late.

Sullay Kaikai beats Lee Burge with a stunning effortSullay Kaikai beats Lee Burge with a stunning effort
Sullay Kaikai beats Lee Burge with a stunning effort

Both sides had come into the contest in poor form and so it was perhaps little surprise that the early stages were tentative, at best.

A sedate start also owed much to a change in shape in the Blackpool side, with Neil Critchley putting in another defender after consecutive defeats. To begin with they were happy to sit off the home side, allowing the centre-halves to rotate possession.

Sunderland tried to be direct and exploit the space between the centre-halves and wing-backs, but their play largely lacked quality.

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The visitors began to see more and more of the ball as the half progressed, but they were similarly tame in their end product.

It took 23 minutes for either goalkeeper to be called into action, and even then it was the easiest of saves for Maxwell as O’Brien’s tame volley landed straight in his arms.

It had least been an incisive piece of play from Grant Leadbitter to release him, and there was another on the half hour mark when Wyke headed over a good cross to the penalty spot from Denver Hume.

Blackpool were tidy without being incisive, their only chance of the half coming when the hosts switched off as a free kick was fired forward. The loose ball bounced kindly for Jerry Yates, but his effort was weak.

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Stung by his side’s pedestrian play up to the interval, Johnson moved to a 3-4-3 at the break in the hope of pushing Denver Hume much further forward.

There was an almost an instant reward as Max Power gathered a loose corner and drew a fine save from Maxwell, who flew to his left to turn the curling shot away.

Sunderland were suddenly applying pressure, McGeady seeing an effort deflected over the bar before Wyke’s header from the following corner was clawed clear by Maxwell.

They looked the more likely, but found themselves behind within moments after goal of quite stupendous quality.

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The corner was drawn from a quick break, Wright deflecting Turton’s effort wide. The ball was headed out of the Sunderland box but was met by Kaikai, who thumped a stunning effort into the top corner from 20 yards.

Burge was helpless and Sunderland left stunned.

Johnson turned to his bench, and it almost yielded a result with 20 to play when Ross Stewart headed a free kick back across goal from the far post. Wyke looked certain to score from barely two yards out but Maxwell did superbly to make the block.

Sunderland threw bodies forward and were denied again at the last by Maxwell as he again clawed clear a Wyke header.

Sunderland XI: Burge; Power, Wright, O’Nien, Hume; Gooch, Leadbitter (Jones, 70), Scowen (Winchester, 70), McGeady; O’Brien (Stewart, 60), Wyke

Subs: Matthews, Diamond, McFadzean, Maguire

Blackpool XI: Maxwell; Turton, Ballard, Thorniley, Husband, Garbutt; Dougall, Ward (Stewart, 90), Robson; Yates, Kaikai (Mitchell, 70)

Subs: Moore, Gabriel, Ekpiteta, Simms, Holmes

Bookings: McGeady, 64 Ballard, 87

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