Sunderland travelled to Peterborough, in search to continue our unbeaten start to the 19/20 season. This impressive run included a 3-1 win away to Burnley in midweek, a result even the most optimistic of Mackems probably didn’t expect. Despite falling behind in that game, Sunderland showed plenty of character to turn the game on its head with Grigg, Flanagan and Dobson all on the scoresheet. Inevitably this gave Jack Ross some important decisions to make regarding his team selection, with several players in red and white standing out for all the right reasons in midweek.
However, Jack Ross made just one change from the side that comfortably beat AFC Wimbledon 3-1 in our previous league game. Unfortunately, Chris Maguire had picked up a knock so was side lined for this one, but this meant that Marc McNulty returned to the line up. McNulty had missed the last few games through injury but had impressed in his first four appearances this season.
The opposing team sheet was equally strong, particularly in terms of attacking threat. Ivan Toney and Mo Eisa started as the two forwards, with former Sunderland target Marcus Maddison threading the balls through; a frontline any defence would struggle to deal with. Former Burnley midfielder George Boyd also started in midfield, another player capable of causing Sunderland problems.
The game commenced at the Weston Homes Stadium, and as expected it was a pretty even affair to begin with. That was until Marcus Maddison’s free kick, from some distance, nestled into the back of the Sunderland net, showing Sunderland a glimpse of what could have been. At the other end, Marc McNulty beat his man brilliantly, but had his shot easily saved by the Peterborough goalkeeper to keep them ahead. The season so far has had so many positives, but the unwanted stat of failing to keep a clean sheet continues into the next game.
Despite a relatively good start to the second half from Sunderland, it was Peterborough who went further in front. After some good build up play around our box the ball fell invitingly for Josh Knight on the right hand side, who slotted it prolifically past Jon McLaughlin with a powerful effort into the bottom corner, 2-0 to the hosts. Another chance went begging for Marc McNulty and Marcus Maddison was able to seal all three points at the other end. George Boyd’s attempted cross deflected into the path of Marcus Maddison who snuck the ball under Jordan Willis and past Jon McLaughlin for his second goal of the game.
Things then went from bad to worse as Luke O’Nien was shown a straight red card, followed by Charlie Wyke’s dismissal after receiving a second yellow. As a result, Sunderland finished the game with just nine men on the field. Fortunately, Peterborough were unable to add anymore misery to the score line as the game finished with a 3-0 defeat; a bad day at the office in all aspects of the phrase.
It’s bound to be a busy week for Jack Ross and his coaching staff on the training field because everything just seemed to go wrong. A 3-0 defeat in league 1 is about as bad as it can get for us, so the old phrase “things can only get better” applies yet again.