Wise Men Say: Why Sunderland are still in good shape despite frustrating Wycombe draw

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Sunderland’s poor performance against Wycombe Wanderers was best described by Tyne-Tees’ Simon O’Rourke on our brand new post-match reaction podcast, which you can listen to on Acast and iTunes.

“I thought it was a bad performance, a bad result. But, given that it is a bad performance, I suppose it’s not a bad point in some respects,” O’Rourke explained.

And it’s hard to argue with his assessment of the 1-1 draw, Sunderland’s first ever fixture with the visitors.

After an awful first half, the home side found themselves a goal down due to some pretty shoddy defensive positioning by the usually sturdy central defensive partnership of Jack Baldwin and Tom Flanagan.

For me, though, Sunderland’s shortcomings started in midfield. Captain George Honeyman redeemed himself with a deft ball to slot substitute Josh Maja in for the equaliser, but all too often found himself miles away from his stranded central midfield partner Dylan McGeouch.

Attacking midfielders Lynden Gooch, Chris Maguire and Aiden McGeady all had off days.

The trio appeared far too individualistic; and, at times, a little greedy. But, perhaps they’ve earned that right given their match-winning contributions this season.

However, Sunderland fans shouldn’t panic, Jack Ross’ men are still unbeaten at home in League One this season with a lot to shout about, a fact I pointed out to Sunderland’s Scottish supremo: “Naturally, for me and how I am, I would like more of those home results to have been wins,” Ross said.

“We’ve been drawing a few games here, but I’ve already spoken about how much it means for other teams to come here, what we’ve shown is plenty of character in those periods.

“The willingness to protect that record is great, it’s something to be proud of this season and we want to continue it as long as we can.”

‘Keeper Jon McLaughlin, so often Sunderland’s saviour this season, didn’t really have much to do despite Wycombe’s brave performance.

Worth noting, too, that Ross’ men could’ve easily nicked three points with some good chances spurned, as BBC Radio Newcastle’s Nick Barnes pointed whilst speaking to Wise Men Say: “With a bit more luck, Max Power might’ve clinched a winner at the end!”

Sunderland sit second with attackers Charlie Wyke and Duncan Watmore to return over Christmas. Saturday’s result and performance were frustrating, admittedly.

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that Sunderland are in extremely good shape at the moment.