Sunderland's miserable form continued on Tuesday evening as they were beaten 2 – 1 by Burton Albion at the SOL after another woeful showing. The lads had taken the lead midway through the first half thanks to an Aiden McGeady penalty but immediately surrendered the lead with Ryan Edwards drawing Nigel Clough’s side level. Once the visitors took the lead midway through the second half through Liam Boyce Sunderland crumbled and should have lost by more as Phil Parkinson was jeered by the home crowd and his side booed off on full time.
After salvaging a late draw against Coventry City on Saturday the lads were back in action again at home as Burton Albion headed to Wearside. It was another dismal showing by Phil Parkinson’s side against Coventry at the weekend but the gaffer did state in his pre match press conference that he didn’t feel the Stadium of Light was a difficult place to play football – something which has been used as an excuse by many of his failed predecessors.
The lads wore black armbands for the game to mark the passing of former Sunderland player Martin Harvey the Northern Ireland international who made more than 350 appearances in red and white. Meanwhile on the injury front McNulty, Gooch and Wyke remained side lined whilst George Dobson served a one game ban for picking up five yellow cards.
Parkinson made two changes to the side that drew against the Sky Blues on Saturday with Connor McLaughlin and Duncan Watmore replacing George Dobson and Chris Maguire. Youngster Ruben Sammut was named on the bench as was the weekends goal scorer Benji Kimpioka.
We forced a corner after about five minutes after decent pressing by Watmore down the right but Leadbitter’s set piece was nodded into the air by Willis and easily gathered by the keeper. The visitors had the first decent effort of the game after ten minutes when Grant Leadbitter was too slow to nick the ball on the halfway line which allowed Stephen Quinn to play the ball to Lucas Akins on the left wing. Akins cut inside leaving McLaughlin for dead but his low shot was deflected wide for a corner which we managed to clear.
Sunderland took the lead just before the twenty minute mark when the lads were awarded a penalty when Will Grigg was fouled in the box. Aiden McGeady made no mistake from the spot powering a low shot past the keeper to give the lads the lead for all of a minute. Nigel Clough’s side equalised immediately as they went down the other end and Lee Burge could only parry a stinging left footed effort from Wallace with Ryan Edwards nodding the rebound into an empty net from the middle of the box.
Duncan Watmore fashioned a decent chance for himself on thirty minutes when he latched onto a well won knock down from Will Grigg. Watmore raced down the right flank before cutting inside the defender and curling a low shot towards the far corner which the keeper did well to save. Just before this Max Power had been cautioned after a really late sliding tackle.
At the other end Lee Burge made a good save to deny Liam Boyce after Sunderland’s backline were again caught napping. Boyce got a shot away from a similar position to the shot what led to Burton’s equaliser but this time Burge palmed the ball clear.
Before the break O’Nien saw a well hit shot turned away after a good run by Hume got Sunderland into a good position. The left back drove in from the left before O'Nien's snap shot was put behind for a corner. A few minutes later Leadbitter released Watmore with a good ball into the channel behind the Burton left back but his cross was cut out meaning it was level at the break and a few boos on the half time whistle.
The lads got the second had underway kicking towards the North stand but it was a bit stop start with the lads punished for a few fouls in quick succession. Sunderland were the side most adventurous but the quality was sadly lacking with many long punts or deep crosses coming to nothing. Watmore had a half chance when McLaughlin found him with a cross but he volleyed over.
Despite the flat performance on the field the fans done their best to raise the atmosphere off it as a prolonged chant of red and white army went up ten minutes into the second half. The lift in atmosphere almost resulted in a goal after McGeady teed up McLaughlin on the edge of the box but he powered a shot just over the bar. A minute later O’Nien had a shot saved after he volleyed straight at the keeper from McGeady’s left wing cross.
The atmosphere soon turned though when Burton took the lead twenty minutes before the end after some more horrendous Sunderland defending. Scott Fraser was afforded far too much time and space to saunter down the left wing unchallenged before crossing far the unmarked Boyce to tap in. Things also went from bad to worse as Burton should have scored again a minute later with an almost identical move but fortunately Akins stabbed wide.
Parkinson reacted by replacing McLaughlin for Maguire as he attempted to get his team back into the game. Benji Kimpioka then soon followed him to replace Grant Leadbitter as the atmosphere was turning quickly on the under fire Sunderland manager especially where I sit next to the dug outs in the West Stand.
However it was the visitors who again could have increased their lead after they tore Sunderland’s defence apart with a slick passing move. Shell shocked Sunderland were chasing shadows before the ball was cut inside to Fraser on the edge of the box who crashed a shot off the cross bar.
Unlike Saturday there was to be no late fight back from Sunderland with the visitors seeing out their lead as Phil Parkinson’s side were booed off on the full time whistle while chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning" by the away fans were joined in with by some home fans.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Burton Albion 2
ALS Man of the Match: The fans who turned up