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We’ve often enough fallen foul of clubs who have made recent changes, so it came as non surprise that we struggled against Southend. But we won, which keeps us in the running. Pete Sixsmith ‘s seven word text, immediately on the final whistle, tells us what makes the difference between a team on the edge of an abyss and one that just might, at some indeterminate point in the future, get into the playoffs:
2 November Sunderland 1 (0) Southend United 0 (0) Where would we be without Luke O’Nien?
29 October Carabao Cup: Oxford United 1 (1) Sunderland 1 (0) Oxford win on penalties *No clean sheet, no surprises, no Wembley
26 Oct Shrewsbury Town 1 (0) Sunderland 0 (0) *Frenzied fightback fails to paper over cracks
19 Oct. Wycombe Wanderers (1) 1 Sunderland (0) 0 No chance of promotion this season whatsoever
8 October Leasing.com Trophy Sunderland (0) 3 (a) Grimsby Town 2 (0) Hardly a resounding triumph but will do or The Wembley train is leaving the station
5 October Lincoln City 2 (1) Sunderland 0 (0) Cannot offer any defence against this embarrassment.
27 September Sunderland (2) 2 MK Dons (0) 1 Hung on: something we don’t always do or Good first half but shakier after break
24 September Carabao Cup: Sheffield United (0) 0 Sunderland (1) 1 Everything we want from our Sunderland team or A very impressive performance; clean sheet too
21 September Bolton Wanderers 1 (1) Sunderland 1 (1) Apathetic performance which exposes our weaknesses.
17 September Sunderland 1 (1) Rotherham United 1 (0) Decent half hour, very poor sixty minutes
14 September Accrington Stanley 1 (1) Sunderland 3 (3) Scrappy and stuttering, result better than performance
31 August Peterborough United 3 (1) Sunderland 0 (0) Not a single positive from this shocker*
28 August Carabao Cup: Burnley 1 (1). Sunderland 3 (1) I just love a midweek in Lancashire/ Loads of effort and plenty of quality.
24 August Sunderland 3 (1) AFC Wimbledon 1 (1) Comfortable win which should enthuse American visitors
20 August Rochdale 1 (1) Sunderland 2 (1) Ecky Thump, that were a tight un
17 August Sunderland 2 (2) Portsmouth 1 (1) Up and running. Committed rather than classy
13 August Carabao Cup: Accrington Stanley (0) 1 Sunderland (1) 3 Had to work hard with McGeady outstanding
or this second 7 which came in as the draw for round two sends us back over the Pennines: Could just as easily have said McNulty
10 August Ipswich Town 1 (1) Sunderland 1 (0) *Decent recovery from absolutely shocking first half
3 August Sunderland 1 (0) Oxford United 1 (1) Looks like a repeat of last season