Sunderland were right back in the thick of the action, with two league games in quick succession. Against Coventry Phil Parkinson’s side stole a point in the final minutes when Benjamin Kimpioka scored to claim a 1-1 draw. It was a dismal performance and one that won’t get us anywhere near the promotion places come the end of the season. We were at home yet again, this time Burton Albion were the visitors to the Stadium of Light. With The Brewers sitting in 15th position heading into the game, it was a huge opportunity for the lads’ to impress and give the home supporters something to cheer about for once!
Proceedings got underway and Lucas Akins’ had the first attempt for the visitors, but his effort was deflected away. Only eighteen minutes had been played when Sunderland were gifted a golden opportunity to go ahead. O’Toole made a clumsy challenge in the box, tripping Luke O’Nien and conceding a penalty kick. It was Aiden McGeady who stepped up to the mark and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way, 1-0 Sunderland. As the saying goes, you’re must vulnerable when you’ve just scored and celebrations had only just finished when Ryan Edwards scored at the other end. Lee Burge managed to save the first effort but could only parry the ball into the path of Edwards’, who headed into an empty net, 1-1. Scoring and conceding in the space of a minute really does show a lack of professionalism and this is just one example of the schoolboy errors that are happening week in, week out.
Following the restart, Conor McLaughlin almost found a second for Sunderland but his shot was fired just over the crossbar. We were made to pay for missed chances yet again as Burton took the lead on the sixty-seventh minute. Scott Fraser delivered an exquisite cross and Liam Boyce was able to slot home from close range. The dissatisfaction from the home supporters was clear and understandably so because this performance wasn’t an anomaly. Akins had an opportunity to make it 3-1 but failed to do so with Phil Parkinson responding by introducing Benjamin Kimpioka, in hope that he could in respond the same way he did on Saturday afternoon. The Sunderland supporters then made their feelings apparent with chants of “You’re getting sacked in the morning” echoing from The Roker End, with fans quickly losing faith in Phil Parkinson, who has now lost seven of his opening eleven matches in charge. Burton Albion returned to Staffordshire with all three points in the bag, another embarrassing defeat from our perspective.
It feels as if the “feel-good factor” has completely diminished as things continue to get worse. Phil Parkinson has to take a large portion of the blame but I am still confused as to why Stewart Donald appointed him in the first place. It was an extremely underwhelming appointment at the time and that opinion has been proven true with results on the pitch. It’s unfortunate for him that he has been appointed in such a dark time when patience is already running thin. As for the players, they really need to look in the mirror and start questioning their performances because the vast majority of them have been atrocious all season. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to “keep the faith” but we will still turn up in numbers regardless of the performances. Here’s hoping Super Kev is still up for the job!