Sunderland ended their pre-season programme with a defeat to Eredivisie side SC Heerenveen. The match was a dull affair, with Hicham Faik’s wondergoal from outside the box dividing the teams.
The new boys all impressed. Willis was a solid throughout, although he was found guilty of attempting too many cross-pitch Hollywood balls. Conor McLaughlin was again comfortable on the ball, looking competent both going forwards and in defence. The fullback/centre half could well prove the most impressive signing of the summer, certainly the most to exceed expectations. Marc McNulty was also impressive after coming off the bench. The striker showed a willingness and hunger that wasn’t there in Grigg and offered something different. He could prove valuable as the season goes on as a third attacking option. George Dobson also showed a lot of promise from the bench. The ex-Walsall man provided so much energy and a box-to-box athleticism that we just haven’t had in the midfield.
Jon McLaughlin (6/10): Did the simple stuff well and was helpless for the beautiful goal from Faik.
Conor McLaughlin (6/10): Good on the ball and slotted in well at centre-half.
Jordan Willis (7/10): Willis was good in the air and is so strong, making up for his lack of height.
Tom Flanagan (6/10): Very vocal and relatively decent.
Lynden Gooch (5/10): Gooch again was found guilty of doing too much with the ball. He cut a frustrated figure tonight as nothing seemed to go right for him
Grant Leadbitter (5/10): The only player to receive a booking, Grant flew into a few unnecessary clumsy tackles. Couldn’t show off his range of passing and was often overran in midfield.
Dylan McGeouch (6/10): The Scot played some neat passes and bailed his teammates out on a number of occasions but was sometimes sloppy with possession.
Denver Hume (6/10): Hume got forward well and put a few decent crosses in. A bit suspect in defence though.
Elliot Embleton (6/10): Ineffective in the first half and didn’t do a whole lot in the second. Hit the post though and came the closest to scoring out of anyone.
Benji Kimpioka (6/10): One of the few bright sparks in the first half, Benji always gets fans off their seats. However, his end product is still lacking and sometimes even he doesn’t know what he’ll do next.
Will Grigg (4/10): Didn’t affect the game other than by winning a few free kicks really. Grigg did not look motivated.
Marc McNulty (6/10): Offered something different and pressed eagerly. Could prove to be a fan favourite if he kicks on and adds goals.
Max Power (5/10): Largely ineffective, not fully fit yet.
Luke O’Nien (6/10): Got forward but didn’t have a huge impact.
George Dobson (7/10): The midfielder’s energy completely changed the game. Tidy passing and looking to get forward, he could be what we’re missing.
Alim Ozturk (6/10): Had nothing to do after replacing Willis.