Sunderland still not impressing but pressure is on Luton and Barnsley after another dramatic weekend
What a great weekend Sunderland have just had.
At the fourth attempt they finally beat Walsall, although it wasn’t easy before three points were secured, and also the only two teams ahead of Sunderland dropped points.
I thought Barnsley might slip up at Doncaster, that was always going to be a tough fixture, but Luton surprisingly dropping points at home to Gillingham, I didn’t see coming.
So now automatic promotion is back in Sunderland’s hands again, although it wouldn’t be a surprise if it changes hands a few more times before the season ends.
If Luton have a wobble, that will be a major bonus, but on the other hand below us Portsmouth are looking strong again after a sticky spell, so all Sunderland can do is take care of their own business.
But if teams around us start to feel the pressure and drop points, all well and good.
I thought before the game with Walsall started it was a must-win one for Sunderland, especially as our rivals will all be playing at least twice before the Black Cats resume their league campaign again.
So like everyone else, I couldn’t believe Sunderland conceded so early through shockingly bad marking from a free-kick, one that at least two Walsall players could have scored from.
It reminded me of earlier in the season when Sunderland kept giving the opposition a goal start, but this time there was a happy ending and a lot of relief.
It just shows though, Sunderland do make things much harder than they need to be, and we should be grateful to fox-in-the-box Lee Cattermole for his third goal in three league games, although how it went in and whether he keeps it I don’t know.
Will Grigg’s winner interestingly came after Charlie Wyke came on and he had a partner to feed off.
Strikers love nothing more than scoring the winning goal in any game, and as it was Grigg’s first league goal from open play, it could be one that opens the floodgates for him. Hopefully, there are a lot more winners to come in the remaining games.
Jon McLaughlin was, as usual, a rock at the back, the back four after that loss of early concentration settling down and gradually getting better, while in attack it was again Aiden McGeady that looked most threatening to me.
Sunderland were definitely the better team and worth the three points, but I thought it was an OK performance and nothing more.
No one really stood out, but they all grafted and this team doesn’t know how to give up.
That’s a quality you can’t put a price on.