That worked out well considering I was really going to bang the drum and predict a good win against the Posh - something which would have left me looking and feeling like a bit of a d**k because we collapsed in the most unglamorous of fashions .
We see Accrington for the second time this season with the first fixture coming in the Carabao Cup, a game we comfortably won. I wonder if we can repeat out form from the last two times we’ve gone up against John Coleman’s men and breathe life once more into what looks like a stalling season?
The Story So Far
Wow. I really wasn’t expecting that. I really hate using the word ‘capitulation’ I feel it’s thrown about far too freely and has lost some of the weight of its meaning. But the gravity of how bad Sunderland played last time out really does just about justify the use of this wonderfully weighty piece of vocabulary. It actually means that we ceased to resist the Posh onslaught if we take the dictionary definition. But in the name of all that is holy, we sure made a mess of whatever it was we were trying to do to the point that there didn’t seem much point in resisting. Just look at how many players Sunderland had left on the pitch come full time and you will see what I mean.
We went to Peterborough riding high on the crest of a wonderful wave of confidence which had gained so much momentum from convincing wins in the league, cup and most importantly, over Premier League opposition in Burnley at Turf Moor – amazing! We rocked up to a side who had started to play well and had turned in some decent performances against mid table League 1 sides. I was pretty confident that we were going to slap them down, shut up their mixed messaging Twitter happy owner and show Marcus Maddison which shirt he should be wearing next season.
How gruesome what actually unfolded.
The aforementioned Maddison stepped up and knocked in a speculative free kick from what might as well have been 35 miles out never mind 35 yards, some piece of skill which left big Jon McLaughlin rooted to the spot as the ball sailed into the top left corner. From this point on Sunderland took it upon themselves to completely unravel, very much in the fashion of placing the end of the toilet roll into the bowl, flushing and watching it come completely off its f*****g handle.
The shape of the team just completely fell to pieces and organisation became a very rare sight to behold. Too much chasing of the game and not enough grunt in the midfield. We had Leadbitter sat in front of the back four with Power further ahead, and due to our faith in trying to find width to stretch teams, Posh smashed right through the under protected middle.
I found it surprising that Ross went with the Leadbitter/Power midfield axis as Posh weren’t going to sit back and give us time on the ball, something which allowed this combination to thrive previously and most prominently against Wimbledon. Dobson and McGeouch must have felt hard done by after showing tremendous determination and game management to help the Lads beat Burnley on the Wednesday night. I think they would have brought a bit more graft and bite to the midfield and complimented each other better as Power at times was literally being overran.
Posh watched us pass the ball around aimlessly and as soon as they got possession would probe for a little hole before pouring forward and we simply could not cope. The next two goals were practically passed into the back of the net there were so many Peterborough players in and around the Sunderland area and the Lads looked like a drowning insect, thrashing about and expending endless amounts of energy but to absolutely no avail.
The most frustrating thing for me was that we finished the game with 9 men.
O’Nien was basically sold down the river after one of the biggest and most physical players on the pitch in Ivan Toney gave his best audition for a victim by dropping to the grass clutching his face after O’Nien swung around and grabbed his… shirt? In all honesty this kind of behaviour is pathetic and deserves no place in the game, it should be punished retrospectively because at the end of the day it is cheating, it is gaining an advantage from unsporting behaviour and it needs to be addressed (and of course he was an ex mag the absolute walloper).
Charlie Wyke should have been smarter to avoid a second yellow which definitely keeps him out for Saturday with the big former Boro man letting emotion get the better of him, O’Nien has rightly had his red rescinded.
Accrington have had a real tough time early days this season and their fans had to wait until the final day of August to see the side’s first victory. They hosted and beat the newly promoted MK Dons, coming back from 1-0 down in the first half to wrap things up with goals from Colby Bishop and Mark Hughes. They then beat the very inconsistent Fleetwood Town, a side who had an excellent start to last season but tailed off towards Christmas and seem to be repeating the same feat.
The Cod Army fell 2-1 to Accrington at the Wham Stadium in the competition with the worst title I’ve ever read, the Leasing.com Trophy (surgically corporate, cold and sterile). They then drew 3-3 in a high scoring game against Bristol Rovers, so it’s been a really mixed bag for John Coleman’s men but if one issue has raised its head time and again it’s the fact they have a very, very leaky defence.
Sunderland boss Ross has been talking up the importance of this afternoon’s game and he expects a response from his players following the defeat against Peterborough. He also hopes that having an extra weeks rest and time on the training pitch due to players with international commitments will give his players the edge over Accrington.
“Every game is of huge importance to us,”
<“We had a decent August but of course it could’ve been better. We know going into this month that in order to put us into the position we want to be in going into the autumn months then we need to win games in these months.
“The players enjoy matches and when you are winning games you always want the next one to come. When you lose you want to respond as quickly as you can.
“The players have looked refreshed and at it,"
"They are looking forward to getting back onto the pitch on Saturday.
“In the next batch of fixtures, the league will start to take shape. We want to come out of it in a good position and in a position where we spent pretty much all of last season so we can kick on in the winter months.”
John Coleman thinks he is starting to get to know his best side now that he’s had the opportunity to try a few different players. He is also of the opinion that the 3-1 score line last time the two sides met flattered the Black Cats so he’s clearly still a little bit bitter over that thumping in front of a home crowd.
“I think I have made up my mind what my starting XI will be but it has been tricky, I am probably still in two minds over one position.">
“At our club, we know our signings are punts to some extent. Some of them have played none or little league football so you are never quite sure how they will react but it’s been positive on the training pitch.
“You have to pick what you think will be the best team to give you the best chance of beating the opposition and we know Sunderland will be tough.
“They have had to sit and stew following their defeat to Peterborough before the international break and it can go one of two ways. They can be fired up to avenge that or be a bit rusty after a two week break.
“I watched the game against Peterborough and, despite the 3-0 scoreline, it could have gone either way. Peterborough were just more clinical on the day.
“We obviously played Sunderland in the Carabao Cup recently and lost 3-1 but I think that scoreline flattered them.
“We missed some good chances but we know they have got some good players who can hurt you at the drop of a hat.
“It’s easy to say: ‘They have got this and we have got that’ but, at the end of the day, it’s 11 v 11 on the field and you have got to try and enjoy it.
“We know we gave them a good game in the cup and hopefully it will be a good game on Saturday and a positive result for us.”