top of page


This is part one of my review of all 52 games Sunderland have played this season, including all four cup matches, some brilliant victories and (only a few) disastrous defeats. I’ve also personally been to most of this season’s games so I’ll offer some of my own experiences from throughout the season.


Our momentum from the successful play-off campaign of just a few months prior carried into this game when, before 15 minutes had been played, new (permanent) signing Jack Clarke latched onto a cross from Lynden Gooch and gave us a 1-0 lead. Coventry would hit the bar later on in the first half but we would go into the break with our lead intact. A few more chances would follow from both sides, however Coventry eventually found an equaliser from prolific talisman Viktor Gyokeres late on. I remember feeling a sense of disappointment when the match finished, partly because we had thrown away a lead and also because I was tired from watching the match in the early hours of morning in Vegas. Overall it was a positive start to the season and we had shown ourselves capable of competing against more established Championship clubs.


An exciting game, where both sides had the lead at some point. Simms scored a brace, breaking the deadlock within five minutes and then later to equalise. Ross Stewart got off the mark for the season to make it 3-2 and earn SAFC their first three points of the season. The 3,300 travelling fans were well-rewarded for their efforts.


Sunderland’s League Cup campaign ended after 90 minutes as the lads suffered their first defeat of the season. An absolute worldie from Dennis Adeniran early on gave Sheff Wed the lead. This game was also my first game of the season, of course ending in defeat. I guess it allowed us to focus on the league with one less distraction?

QPR (H) 2-2

One of the many home games this season where SAFC failed to see out a lead, this one is particularly notable for the manner in which we drew. After Stewart and Simms had given us a comfortable 2-0 lead heading into the break, few would have bet against us winning this game. But alas, a dubious late free kick from Ilias Chair gave QPR the hope to claim a point after he had throttled Lynden Gooch and got away with it... Later on, in stoppage time, Seny Dieng (QPR’s goalkeeper) ran up for a corner and after we failed to clear the ball properly he nodded home a header from a subsequent cross. It was my first home game of the season as well - I’m starting to notice a pattern.


We started this game very strongly, however after committing a foul as the last-man, Dan Neil was dismissed and Sunderland would soon find themselves 2-0 down. Lynden Gooch would give us some hope of rescuing a point through a brilliant chipped goal from outside the box, but we were unable to find an equaliser with only ten men.


We would defeat a struggling Stoke City side 1-0 courtesy of a Ross Stewart goal in stoppage team in the first half. After this defeat Stoke would sack their manager (Michael O’Neill) and this as you will be aware) would eventually come back to affect Sunderland in more ways than one…


This game was far more notable for its chaotic build-up, as SAFC found themselves managerless less than 24 hours before the game began. Alex Neil had hopped into a car during Friday’s training session and joined none other than Stoke City. Only Sunderland can win a game and still come out worse off... Our lads were clearly fired up and reportedly the atmosphere was bouncing (I was watching this game from a pub in Cardiff). We probably should have won, our most notable chance was Ross Stewart hitting the bar. Unfortunately, Norwich would snatch all three points due to a late-ish goal from Josh Sargent as their quality from the bench shone through.


We quickly found a new manager in the experienced Tony Mowbray and his reign began positively. Sunderland would finally register their first home win of the season in emphatic fashion; a brilliant brace from Stewart and a terrific solo-run from Jack Clarke comfortably sealed the three points.


A Tees-Wear ‘Derby’ to forget for the Black Cats. Of course the main talking point was that Ross Stewart got injured in the warm-up. This no doubt contributed to a narrow 1-0 defeat on the night. I’d say this was probably Sunderland’s first really poor performance of the season in the league.


Our boys clearly weren’t too disheartened at losing to local rivals Boro as they would win their second game in three 3-0. A game most memorable due to a fantastic team goal finished off by Jack Clarke, which probably should be considered the goal of the season. As well as this though, Patrick Roberts scored two identical goals within the space of two minutes. And all of this happened after Ellis Simms limped off injured! SAFC would climb up to 6th in the table, a very promising start for a newly promoted side.


Our third away game in a row, and my first away league game of the season, was finished in a joyful manner as the young 18-year-old Jewison Bennette fired a composed shot into the net late on to ensure SAFC didn’t come back to the SoL empty handed and prompting wild celebrations amongst the 2,000 travelling fans.


The first game of two 0-0 draws at the SoL in a row was disappointing as SAFC really should have won, we failed to capitalise on numerous chances. There’s really nothing else I can say about this game to be honest.


In what felt like the movie Groundhog Day, SAFC once again failed to win by snubbing chance after chance. The effects of losing Simms and Stewart had clearly been felt by this point and Sunderland would need to adapt to life without strikers, at least temporarily. A feeling of frustration probably best describes my mood following this game.


Backed by another sold out away end for the long trek to South Wales, Sunderland were dominated in the first half by the Welsh side. After the start of the second half we managed to get ourselves back into the game via Jack Clarke, but the Lads weren’t able to find another and we went back to Wearside empty handed. The long trip back up north felt just that little bit longer for everyone after the defeat.

WIGAN (H) 2-1

Sunderland would win at home for the second time this season when we faced a team featuring loads of former SAFC men, Wigan. The game hadn’t started well with our ex-striker Charlie Wyke opening the scoring. But the Lads showed character to win after being behind going into the break, especially with no strikers. Embo and Cirkin recovered the game for us in the second half.


This was probably the first game of the season where our supporters felt truly aggrieved at the quality of the officiating. Blackburn’s first goal shouldn’t have counted due to a foul on Jack Clarke in the build up and their second was probably offside as well. The effects of having no strikers were now truly being felt, with just one win in six and two defeats in the last three, Sunderland slipped to 12th in the table.

That brings an end to the first section of our three-part full season review. Make sure to come back tomorrow for part two, including a mini cup run, some hard-fought results and a top class win against a local rival...