Sunderland had to settle for a point after grinding out a one all draw with Shrewsbury Town on Saturday at the SOL. After a slow start Jack Ross’ side fell behind after a header from Luke Waterfall before the lads eventually rallied and equalised on the stroke of half-time through a header from Josh Maja. Despite an improved second half showing Sunderland couldn’t muster a winner and results elsewhere mean we are now seven points off top.
Jack Ross had this to say at the post match press conference: “There was frustration for the second half and maybe last ten minutes of the first half, prior to that disappointment at level of performance. It surprised me because the group were really bright since Wednesday, they had been bright in warm up, so things that might concern you were all ticked. There maybe are reasons why. The stadium had a different feel to Boxing Day, even though there was still a fantastic crowd in but there were 13,000 less than Wednesday because it makes the atmosphere different. That’s not an excuse, we were slow, laboured, we dominated territory but they made it hard. We have to be careful we don’t get dramatic about things here, we have disappointed in the opening games. The one thing we face here is teams play in different manners. They see a certain result positive, nothing wrong with that. Second half was a perfect example of that. We are unbeaten at home, scored in every league game and points wise we are giving ourselves a chance. We can’t replicate the number of draws in the remaining home games, that is something we are aware of also.”
Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts was the happier of the two gaffers: Ricketts said: “I am delighted with the performance and the draw is a very good draw for us. We set up with a game plan to frustrate, to make it hard against a very good team with good individual players. We haven’t got a great away record, so it’s pleasing to frustrate and for the first 25 minutes I thought we were excellent and got in front. For me home, away, it’s the performance level that matters. If we perform like we do at home we will games. It should give us confidence, they have hit certain standards today. If you play wherever, even on the beach, if you hit standards you get results. I went back on last couple of Sunderland games, the Portsmouth game away, Bradford here, every team has certain weaknesses I thought we could exploit. Knowing individual players in the Sunderland team we had to be respectful of that. We tried to play on the break a little and got our reward.”
Jack Ross also gave an update on the future of both Josh Maja and Lynden Gooch. "Josh has been made an offer and a deadline has been set, which will bring things to a head one way or another, over the course probably over the next week. I'm still hopeful Josh will stay at the club but we're keen for a conclusion one way or another. I think that would be the conclusion of the week leading up to Charlton, I think that's accurate. I am not avoiding the question, it is not just my decision, as you can imagine. I am probably stating the obvious but I would just want to keep him at the club but I am also understanding of a business model that a club needs to operate to and how it views its assets, assets that may depreciate in value for very different reasons. Simply from player to manager, I would believe he would stay with the club because of the relationship I have with him and conversations I have had with him. But until anything is concluded either way, I couldn’t say for definite. Lynden is as far as I'm aware all but agreed, subject to paperwork. Until it's signed and registered, I believe that to be the case. On Lynden it's positive."