Sunderland suffered a second defeat of the season with a humbling defeat to the hands of Lincoln City who dominated from start to finish.
Tyler Walker put the hosts in front and for large periods of the half Lincoln looked in control. Sunderland failed to bounce back in the second half as De Bock gave away a penalty, but Walker couldn’t make it two. The Imps striker wasn’t put off by the penalty miss and tucked away his second to finish Sunderland off.
Following Sunderland’s victory over MK Dons, last weekend Jack Ross went with an unchanged line-up with Joel Lynch and Laurens De Bock making impressive league debuts last time out. Ross stuck with Jon McLaughlin in goal despite pressure from backup stopper Lee Burge who has impressed in League Cup wins over Premier League opposition.
Sunderland’s opponents Lincoln, after a fine start to the season, had slipped down the table but were looking to push back towards the playoff places with a victory. Sunderland, however, would’ve been looking to move into the top two and put pressure on the teams above going into the international break.
Through the opening five minutes, the hosts were doing all the running. Sunderland had not adjusted to the pace of the game and were very much on the back foot in the early stages of the match.
The home side took the lead after 17 minutes in and a cross from the right looked simple enough for McLaughlin to gather, but he didn’t get there quick enough and Tyler Walker poked it home. Sunderland had looked so far off the pace and were deservedly behind.
This was a fixture that resembled many matches last season, these so-called smaller teams who see Sunderland as a big scalp and come out and press high and play with a much greater tempo. It was working and the Lincoln fans were getting right behind their team.
The host's goal means that Ross’ men haven’t kept a league clean sheet since the 0-0 draw against Portsmouth in May.
Sunderland looked as if they had equalized as De Bock cut onto his right foot and curled a beauty which looked destined for the top corner, but Josh Vickers pulled out an unbelievable fingertip save to push it around the post.
The lads had finally got their foot on the ball for a prolonged period and had quietened the crowd considerably. It seemed as if Ross’ tactics were to be patient in possession and try and exploit the wings with Gooch and Maguire on either side.
It could have easily been two as Walker’s effort was unintentionally blocked by Jack Payne who couldn’t get out of the way of the shot.
Sunderland were struggling to create clear cut chances and Chris Maguire aimed from 20 yards out which was easily palmed away by Vickers.
It was hard for the away fans to get excited about much at all and the first half drew a close to and ended an incredibly poor first half. It was a big test to see what Ross could do to jeer up his players.
The lads had started the second half the better and were playing it about much better – all that was needed was that final ball.
Despite having the better of the opening stages, Lincoln were given a penalty as De Bock got caught up behind Bruno Andrade and was adjudged to have tripped him up. Sunderland got a huge stoke of luck as Walker’s effort crashed of the inside of the post and fell to safety.
In a bid to change the game Ross brought on Marc McNulty and Aiden McGeady for Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire in hope of adding some creativity to the forward line.
Andrade was causing Sunderland all sorts of problems and thanks to his cross Lincoln’s Walker made it 2-0 as he tucked away Andrade’s fine ball from close range.
It was getting embarrassing for Sunderland who looked a team without any direction and were getting battered on the wings. It looked a lot more likely that the hosts would be the ones to get the third goal of the game.
After some good play on the left from Power and McGeady the latter crossed it in and found Luke O’Nien in the box whose effort flew over the bar.
Sunderland were trying to create something and give the lads hope, but even with the introduction of Will Grigg the lads didn’t look likely to score.
The frustration was building, and Sunderland should have had a chance as the ball was thrown into the box and it dropped to Grigg but with so many bodies around him he couldn’t sort his feet out to shoot.
Charlie Wyke missed a glorious chance to get a goal back as he was free on the six-yard box and from a McGeady ball in he could only hit it wide.
As the game came to a close it was a shocking display that Sunderland fans have been accustomed to this season under Jack Ross.
Full Time: Lincoln 2-0 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Jordan Willis