Winless record, injury concerns, goalkeeping howlers but a proper Sunderland atmosphere... Pob lwc, Chris Coleman

Kit Symons watches on at the Stadium of Light
Kit Symons watches on at the Stadium of Light
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For the opening ten minutes, Kit Symons must have been quite impressed.

Watching on as he prepares to take the reins alongside Chris Coleman, he may even have wondered whether this truly was as big a job as many have made out.

Pass and move, good tempo, good commitment.

Sunderland were playing well and their opening goal was fully deserved.

Of course, those watching on, and it must be said that they were a terrific, vocal support throughout, boosted by last night’s breaking news, knew better than to get carried away.

From there it was a frantic affair. Goalkeeping howlers, injury concerns, some good football played but also some wretched decision making.

Sunderland could have won it; they certainly could have lost it.

The upshot of it all is that Coleman will arrive to a side that has set a league record for winless games at home, is rooted in the relegation zone on merit and lacks the confidence and strength to see out games.

This was yet another occasion where a mediocre opponent left with a result having done little to impress.

It was unfortunate for Robbie Stockdale, who picked an attacking side and saw them start well. He cannot, nor can anyone, legislate for the two goalkeeping errors made by Robbin Ruiter that put Sunderland swiftly behind.

The first looked complacent, allowing a weak free-kick from George Saville to roll through him. The second was even worse, awful technique unable to prevent a similarly average effort.

Of all the concerns Coleman will have, and there are many, top of the list will be a goalkeeping situation that has become a millstone around Sunderland’s neck.

A lack of authority between the sticks is spreading panic throughout the team and has to be a major reason for the defensive record that continues to undermine the side.

In attack, they scored goals again, Lewis Grabban superb, and some of the patches of play showed there is much to work with.

The organisation and defensive resilience remains lacking and rectifying that will be his first task.

Worrying, too, were the injuries to Williams, Watmore, Wilson and McNair that will leave the squad wafer thin if serious.

The problems are myriad and substantial, and it is hard not to be impressed by Coleman’s bravery in taking it on.

That, the excellent atmosphere in the second half and a late siege that showed Sunderland have more than enough in their squad to compete, give reasons for hope.

Pow lwc, Mr Coleman.