Sunderland’s promotion hopes were dented yet again away from home which made it three away defeats in as many games.
Jason Cummings’ goal broke the deadlock in the first half and despite the lads having a host of chances they couldn’t get that elusive goal. The team managed to hit the woodwork three times which summed up Sunderland going forward.
Following Phil Parkinson’s home debut delight he stuck with a similar team, Aiden McGeady was the only change as the Irishman returned to the line-up and replaced the injured Lynden Gooch.
The resounding win against Tranmere had pushed the team back into the promotion reckoning and the message before kick-off will have been more of the same.
Sunderland had the first big chance of the game as Chris Maguire and Denver Hume combined down the left-hand side as the full-back played a great ball into McGeady who fired over the bar from 12 yards.
Through the opening ten minutes, the lads edged it, but without testing Max O’Leary. Most of the play was being played in the Shrewsbury’s half with a lot of the attacking down the left-hand side.
20 minutes into the game and Shrewsbury took the lead through Jason Cummings, it was crossed in from the left by Scott Golbourne and was met by Cummings who expertly found the bottom corner. It was the hosts first meaningful attack and they punished Sunderland who were caught napping.
Sunderland’s final ball was non-existent, Will Grigg was an incredibly isolated figure up top and desperately needed help from the attacking midfield trio behind him.
The lads came so close to levelling the scores as George Dobson played in Grigg who turned and laid it off to Maguire whose effort looked destined to hit the back of the net, but his effort crashed off the inside of the post.
As the first half ended it was a game where barring the goal, Lee Burge had nothing to do. Sunderland were doing all the pressing with Shrewsbury sitting back and protecting their goal lead. The lads needed a big 45 minutes to break down the defence and find that creative spark to get back in the game.
At half time there was one surprise chance as Burge was replaced by Jon Mclaughlin, it didn’t seem as if the former Coventry keeper was injured during the game but couldn’t continue.
Going forward it just wasn’t happening for Sunderland, Maguire released O’Nien down the right and he pulled it back to Watmore who should have shot first time but took a touch and was easily dispossessed.
Maguire had a great chance to equalise as he won the ball high up the pitch and his powerful effort was well saved by O’Leary in goal. Sunderland were pushing and pushing for that crucial goal and stepped up the pressure.
Sunderland were inches away from getting a goal as McGeady’s cross whistled past everyone in the box as Grigg couldn’t stretch enough to get a toe on the cross. Minutes later McGeady’s cross again looked as if it had to be put home but it was well defended as Grigg couldn’t get any contact.
The longer the game went on it looked more and more that it wasn’t going to be Sunderland’s day and that luck wasn’t on the lad’s side.
McGeady was the next one to have a big chance as Maguire floated a ball to the back post and on the volley, McGeady blazed it over.
Sunderland hit the post for the second time as the ball in from the left was deflected and looped up to O’Nien who headed it brilliantly only to see it come back off the post – which just about summed up the lad’s luck.
The lads were inches away from scoring yet again as Max Power took aim from 20 yards out and his deflected effort flew off the bar.
On another day this could have been three or four to Sunderland, but the team just couldn’t get that goal to level the scores. If Sunderland are to get out of this league these are the games that need to be won.
Full Time: Shrewsbury 1-0 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Jordan Willis