As the flag fluttered on the halfway line at the Keepmoat I mistakenly thought a Doncaster fan had managed to get into the stadium and was flaunting his fortune in front of me as I sat at home watching a stream. As it transpired it was me who should have felt smug. We were very good in the first half...no, we were good in the first half….no we were better than we have been in the first half….no we weren’t shite in the first half. We controlled the game and should have been smoking cigars in the dressing room at halftime but we weren’t. That is the reason Parkinson needs to go. Well, that’s one of them.
Let’s start with the line up. Quite why they put everyone in number order when they announce the lineup apart from the Goalkeeper who is listed first is beyond me. In some ways it’s no bad thing as it gives some pre match discussion points. With Parkinson you know how he’s going to play you just don’t know who he is going to put into his predesignated positions. That leaves you wondering whether we’ll play a Luke O’Nien (whatever his position is) at centre half or right back. Hell he could even be playing outside right of the striker. It wouldn’t surprise me if his name was first on the teamsheet in place of a keeper. The problem with jack of all trades is...well anyway. Then Gooch, where is he playing today? My issue with the starting lineup is not with the players, it’s with the stubbornness that Parkinson shoe horns players into the formation regardless of opponent and regardless of personnel available. Maguire and Gooch are better out wide, how does that fit with a wing back formation? If they are meant to be supporting the forward but drift out wide then who fills the gap? Today it was Scowen and he had an awful lot of ground to cover. Parky needs to go.
It’s easy to criticise Wyke, after all he does look a little weak for a big lad. That said he has a job to do. His job is to win the ball up there and knock it down. To who? That big gap behind him because Gooch or Maguire have gone to their more natural positions. I’m not a tactical genius but I can see a flaw there. We saw hardly any action in the box against Doncaster, at least meaningful action. The emphasis was on pushing it out to the edge of the box where, thankfully, Leadbitter was waiting. This is a far from a perfect strategy and a bit more up front would have seen us smoking those cigars at half time. Parky needs to go.
The most meaningful outlet in terms of attacking prowess was Denver Hume, the wing back. Now that’s fine but if you’re going to use Denver like that then manage him, coach him, do whatever you need to do to tell him to lift his head up and have a look before firing the ball in. Today’s instructions seemed to be “Denver, cut the ball back to the edge of the box when you get in a dangerous position”. Invariably that meant it went to a Doncaster player. Parky needs to go.
Let’s talk about Maguire. One of the most dangerous players for Sunderland, provided of course he’s up for it. He’s usually up for it if somebody kicks him or something early doors. A good man manager would make sure that wasn’t necessary. A good man manager would look to Maguire and realise that he needs firing up. Instead we’re in a position where Maguire needs an opposition player to fire him up. Parky needs to go.
We settle for a 1-0 win, maybe sneak one as Donny are trying to break us down but the legs are tired. That’s ok we have 5 subs to use for the first time ever. As Wyke stumbled around like an overworked carthorse Danny Graham idled on the bench. As Scowen tired from covering the gaps Embleton tapped his feet. As Flanagan held his back in pain Sanderson wondered why Wolves had let him go down to League One to get playing experience. After 82 minutes Parkinson made his first substitution. After 91 minutes he made his second. Then Doncaster equalised. Parky needs to go.