That play off defeat still stings and remains clear in the memory of most Sunderland fans. Time to avenge that heartbreaking failure with a proper result against the side from South-East London.
The story so far…
Sunderland had to settle for a point against Peterborough on Monday in a well contested match between two good sides.
The first half was a cagey affair with both sides probing each others defences for any notable weakness.
As the half wore on Sunderland took control of possession and started to carve out some half chances, the most notable of which was when Aiden McGeady created some space for himself in the opposition box. But enormous Peterborough centre back Mark Beevers got his body in the way, denying Sunderland a certain opener.
Peterborough created little of note in the opening 45, but Lee Burge was kept on his toes to prevent Luke O’Nien vollying an attempted clearance into his own goal. Luke definitely owes Burge a pint after that one.
The second half was a different story for both Peterborough and Sunderland.
As resolute as the Black Cats’ defence had been for the first half, dangerous attacking midfielder Sammie Szmodics began to find himself unmarked on the right hand side of the penalty area in the second.
The Peterborough Number 10 was being fed decent passes from his colleagues when unmarked and was causing numerous problems for O’Nien and McFadzean, especially when he volleyed over from a good position inside the Sunderland box.
Charlie Wyke was the next player to go close, catching a pass on the half volley which Peterborough keeper Christy Pym could only deflect away for a corner.
Then Aiden McGeady sized up a free kick in an excellent position outside the Peterborough area. Unfortunately for everyone back on Wearside, the Republic of Ireland international curled his attempt just past the top corner.
Darren Ferguson had seen enough of the players he had on the pitch and made a double change, the most notable being Scotland winger Siriki Dembele who was being eased back following an injury lay off.
The impact was almost immediate, the movement and pace of Dembele began to drag the Sunderland defence out of shape.
Finally the pressure told when Posh winger Nathan Thompson carried the ball into the Sunderland box, looked up and played a pass to Dembele at the back post. The substitute took his shot at the first attempt, stroking it past Lee Burge into the far corner and giving his side the lead.
The Posh were flying now and went close with a number of attempts from League top scorer Johnson Clarke-Harris and then Burge denied Szmodics for the second time to keep the deficit to a single goal.
This time Lee Johnson was the man to try and influence the game in his favour, making four substitutions which included full back Denver Hume making his first appearance after a long injury lay off.
It wasn’t one of the players introduced by Johnson to restore the equilibrium. It was Sunderland talisman Aiden McGeady.
Sunderland won a freekick in an excellent position just outside the Posh area. McGeady stepped up and delivered a beautiful curling effort which went up, over the wall and back down to beat Pym.
Sunderland finished strongly as they searched for a winner but were unable to find another goal and the spoils were, in my opinion, rightly shared between two fairly evenly matched sides.
The Addicks find themselves unbeaten in their last 7, but wins remain elusive and hard to come by. Much of that upturn in form has came after appointing Nigel Adkins as manager after Lee Bowyer jumped ship to manage Championship side Birmingham City.
Adkins, who has formerly managed Southampton, Sheffield United and Hull, appears to have steadied the ship since taking the hot seat mid March.
After a 2-2 draw with struggling Wimbledon, Charlton beat promotion hopefuls Doncaster 1-0 to earn Adkins his first win as Charlton manager.
The game was a mere 12 minutes in when Chelsea loanee Ian Maatsen outmuscled the Doncaster defence to give himself the chance to shoot, with his excellent left footed finish finding the bottom corner.
Following this it was Charlton keeper Ben Amos who had to be alert to deny Doncaster three good attempts to keep his side in the lead.
Aside from Jayden Stockley having a goal chalked off for offside, neither team could fashion a second goal of the game, giving Charlton the win and condemning Doncaster to their sixth game without a win.
Charlton have been wildly inconsistent this season and have played in a number of ways. Nigel Adkins has deployed his side in a 4-3-3 and a 4-4-2 which was used in the draw against Wimbledon.
They will be without their second most potent goal scorer in Conor Washington who misses out with a hamstring issue.
Top scorer Chuks Aneke with 13 goals to his name this term has had to make do with an impact sub role under Adkins, starting the last two games from the bench.
It is worth noting that Aneke hasn’t started since the 0-0 stalemate that Charlton played out against Oxford in early March.
Sunderland on the other hand just have to keep doing what they’ve been doing. It’s interesting to see the tweaks which Lee Johnson makes to his side and how they impact in the way they play.
I found it very concerning when he named a midfield pairing of Winchester and Leadbitter against Peterborough. Yet I found that despite his mobility issues, Leadbitter held his own for most of the match and played some wonderful passes to get us up the pitch.
McGeady and Jordan Jones are two of the best wingers in League One, I don’t care what anyone says, and they will create problems for any side who they play against.
Wyke was forced to play the channels slightly more with Ross Stewart alongside him and I felt the big pairing were less effective against a Posh defence which crowded them out.
However, after watching Charlton defend for large parts of the game against Doncaster I feel that this fixture holds no fear for Sunderland and the lads should be scoring multiple goals against the play off hopefuls.
I must name check him for a goal nearly every preview I write, but McGeady is just on fire at the minute. He plays like a man possessed and looks like he’ll drag Sunderland into the championship by hook or by crook if he has to this term.
Big Charlie is also due a goal after going a bit dry lately, but with Jones back in the side I expect him to start scoring again soon.
Let’s be honest, Charlton have nothing of the attacking quality which we largely contained against Peterborough. I’m looking for another clean sheet and at least two goals, scored by… yep, you guessed it, McGeady and Wyke. Jones can have a third if he likes as well.
2-0 to Sunderland, Ha’way the Lads.