I am starting this with a weird feeling, normally after Sunderland fail to win a game there’s a sense of frustration around the team’s performance. However, today my frustration lies with the EFL. The reason being that they failed to do what anyone could see was the right thing which was to postpone the Sunderland v AFC Wimbledon game that was played on Tuesday evening.
At around 6pm on Tuesday, there were extraordinary reports of a COVID outbreak at the Stadium of Light, which meant that eight first team players had to self-isolate. Despite this, the game went ahead, even after the EFL allegedly offered to let Sunderland postpone the fixture, subject to investigation into the safety protocols at the academy.
As a result, Sunderland fielded a significantly weakened squad with fringe players such as Mitch Curry and Daniel Neil being selected for the bench.
SAFC were without Chris Maguire, Max Power, Aiden McGeady and Danny Graham which meant that our attacking options were limited to Jack Diamond, Will Grigg and Aiden O’Brien. Dion Sanderson also made his first appearance since the 2-2 draw away at Rochdale.
We started the game slowly and found it hard to break down the Dons, with our lack of pace meaning that we were struggling to find that creative spark. However, the one thing you can’t do for a team looking to frustrate you is gift them an advantage, so when McFadzean gave away a stupid penalty on the stroke of half-time which Joe Pigott coolly slotted home I was absolutely fuming. In too many games this season we have given away easily preventable goals, and unfortunately, we were the architects of our own downfall yet again.
That being said, the response in the second half was positive and we got ourselves level with a striker’s finish from central defender Bailey Wright. The Australian chested down a long ball into the penalty area and smashed it across goal into the far corner on the half volley.
I don’t want to be too critical of him given that he probably wasn’t expecting to start but Will Grigg had yet another ineffective game and is doing me no favours in arguing his case to not be transfer listed ahead of the January window.
Anyway, the game ended 1-1 and Sunderland drop points yet again, in all honestly I shouldn’t even be writing a match review because if there is anyone with half a brain within the EFL, then the game rightly wouldn’t have gone ahead.
It’s time to look forward to Saturday’s game away at Shrewsbury Town and it will be interesting to see who is available for the game and if are there are any developments before then and whether the game will even go ahead.