Man of the Match - Luke O'Nien (6.8)
That's two on the bounce for O'Nien who is filling in at right back. Safc3773 said it best when he told us;
Another good game, wish he had been in midfield
I think this is a fantastic point. O'Nien has made life incredibly difficult for wingers to get the better of him whilst playing right back, showing great energy and tenacity in doing so. The same cannot be said for our midfield. Despite being tidy in possession, Lee Cattermole and Max Power have struggled to influence recent football matches. When the opposition sits deep and is compact, as they always do against Sunderland, the lack of midfield bite becomes a big problem.
Sunderland have missed George Honeyman, that much is clear, but I'd argue O'Nien would be more dynamic through the middle. He is more adventurous with his forward runs, and more deciseful when defending. Not to mention his work rate, highlighted by this anonymous comment left;
Best player on pitch, work rate twice that of some other players
Second place - Jon McLaughlin (6.2)
McLaughlin had nothing to do, until the last minute where he pulled of a canny stop. He was let down by his defence for the goal (it's criminal to concede from a free kick so far out), other than that there isn't much to say. Here's a couple of the comments left about McLaughlin, first from an anonymous reader and the other from Julie Cheal;
Competent performance made crucial save at the death
Love our goalie but didnt look confident
Last place - Lynden Gooch (4.8)
Whilst it's true things did not work out well for Gooch I think his rating is a bit harsh. He was a lot better than Chris Maguire, for example, who was ineffective and took no care in his passing or touch as he gave possession away countless times. Gooch grew into the game, eventually, after a slow first half before oddly being substituted when he was playing his best stuff.
The comments were much the same as they always are for the American. He clearly has talent, but his inability to make effective decisions is becoming more apparent with each game;
No quality with his final ball, often kept hold of the ball for way too long
Nothing went right for him today and his decision making and control were very poor. Needs a rest
The last comment, left anonymously, about him needing a rest is a great call. With the return of Duncan Watmore and the tactical flexibility Charlie Wyke now gives us, perhaps it would be a good time to give Gooch a break.
The rest of the side didn't impress anyone either, with low ratings across the board;
Josh Maja (6.1), Tom Flanagan (5.9), Aiden McGeady (5.8), Jack Baldwin (5.8), Max Power (5.7), Bryan Oviedo (5.6), Lee Cattermole (5.4), Chris Maguire (4.9).
A word for Oviedo, who was rated fourth worst player, I think he was under-used in the first half. All of our success was coming from overlapping full backs and the number of times the likes of Gooch, Maguire and McGeady ignored the space Oviedo and O'Nien found themselves in was ridiculous. The goal came from Oviedo, and we should have fed the full backs a lot more than we did during the opening 45.
Tomorrow is Blackpool with a predictable bumper away-crowd set to vastly out-number the protesting home crowd. Come back tomorrow to join in rating and commenting on the player performances.