Here are the 2 Bad points and 1 reason why we should not completely give up yet.
Enough of the 4222!
Last night, Lee Johnson set the team up with his 4222 formation. Despite the limited success with it this season he keeps persisting with it and it did not pay off yesterday. The weaknesses in this formation are glaringly obvious, the midfielders Johnson has available to him are much better suited in a three rather than a two.
Time and again the midfield three of Lincoln made sure the Black Cats midfield was isolated from the rest of the team. Power and Scowen looked hopeless in a two, as nether could pass the ball forwards or attempt to create attacking moves. They were constantly chasing shadows and giving away cheap free kicks.
We have seen Leadbitter and Power anchor a midfield three to great effect in the past as well as offering an added layer of protection to the back four. In a game where Johnson clearly set up to be cautious, surely playing a midfield three would have added that bit extra solidarity.
Another sting from a former player
Just over a year ago Sunderland’s season ended in frustration as former striker Mikael Mandron came back to haunt the Lads as he bagged a brace on his return to the Stadium of Light. It seems that another familiar face has come back to do the same thing; Imps skipper Liam Bridcutt bossed proceedings at Sinsil Bank last night, winning the Sky Sports Man of the Match award in the process.
Bridcutt was instrumental in Lincoln’s first goal as he shrugged off Lynden Gooch with ease before being fouled by Power. Just like Mandron, in his time at Sunderland he was ineffective and could not break into the team.
I am not saying that Bridcutt would have made it in the dizzy heights of the Premier League but how come these players are so poor at Sunderland but somehow become key figures in other sides?
A Glimmer of hope?
Despite the grim outlook for the second leg, I cannot help but think the Lads do have a chance to take this to penalties. When the players emerged from the tunnel for the second half, a different Sunderland took to the pitch for about 15 minutes or so.
They played with intensity and purpose, however Lincoln rode their luck and managed to get through that spell unscathed. Imps ‘keeper Bursik made a decent save as he tipped Jordan Jones’ long range effort onto the bar. Shortly after, Bailey Wright had a headed chance from a corner that he should have buried.
He would be the first to tell you that. If they start in the same vein on Saturday, in front of 1000 homes fans, then this tie could be taken to penalties. Under Lee Johnson, Sunderland have loved scoring early goals, so this tie is not over yet.