Salut! Sunderland regrets that it is still not possible to post comments because of a technical problem we are trying to resolve</strong >
Monsieur Salut writes: I was there and may have something to say. Likewise John Marshall. But Sunderland match reports from Bob Chapman, who just cannot ditch that home-and-away habit, are always welcome. Here’s what Bob made of another disappointing SAFC away day …
I was in a better frame of mind for this fixture, than I thought I would be after the Wycombe debacle a week ago.
The win on Tuesday night had made me question my prediction that we had little chance of promotion. I thought if we could get another three points against Shrewsbury and then another three next Saturday against Southend we might be able to get our season back on an automatic promotion course.
Last season my wife and I booked into a local hotel in Shrewsbury. We were joined by John and Sarah Marshall for the weekend. We won 2-0 and our wives spent the afternoon in the town centre.
A great weekend was had by all concerned so we decided to repeat it this year. The weekend didn’t get off to a great start as torrential rain delayed our arrival. It was still pouring the next morning when we all got a taxi to the town centre. We were meeting up with Kevin Spencer and Mick Woodward who had caught the train earlier that morning from Northampton.
They informed us that the train service was in chaos but they should be able to make it. Fortunately they arrived in Shrewsbury but all services out were currently cancelled. The thought of putting our mates up overnight entered John’s mind but somehow I don’t think it would have been be met with approval by our wives!
We watched Man City demolish Aston Villa in the Hole in the Wall. Whenever I watch City I always think about them languishing in our current league not so many years ago. I have been watching Sunderland since 1964 so season 1997 is recent! Oh for a takeover and massive investment. I wish! I could even cope with The Dell Computer Stadium of Light so long as we had a future Aguero or Sterling on our books.
Off by taxi to the Montgomery Waters Meadow and it was no surprise to see just one change from Tuesday, with McGeady replacing the injured Gooch. Back to Tuesday I did think the 5-0 score was rather flattering. Tranmere played some decent stuff throughout and I always felt that had we conceded early it would have been a much different story.
As usual we started quite brightly with McGeady having the first real chance, striking it over the bar from about 12 yards out. With his ability he should have done better. If only we could get an early goal I thought. Mid way through the half as is the norm, we conceded. Laurant picked up a loose ball in our half, drove forward down their left and fed a low cut back cross which found the feet of Cummings who shot first time into our goal. I felt Hume should have made a tackle, but he was caught flat footed.
No clean sheet again I thought and another mountain to climb. At least last season you knew we would score at some point. However not this season. Shrewsbury had a chance to extend the lead with a free kick that Burge saved low down at the base of his left hand post.
From then on Shrewsbury battled hard to preserve their lead. They played with a back five and took no risks. Consequently it allowed us to put the pressure on. A ball from Dobson found Grigg on the penalty spot, who laid it off for McGuire to fire in a shot that rebounded off the post. Half time came to a mixed reception. At least we had created something unlike at Wycombe when we created absolutely nothing.
Sunderland dominated the second half. Having substituted the injured Burge, McLaughlin had absolutely nothing to do. O’Nien hit the post with a header and this was soon followed by a drive from McGuire which the keeper pushed on to his bar. It was all one way but you just knew it was going to be one of those days.
Shrewsbury now sit one point behind us. There is no doubt we have a much stronger squad than them and should be expected to finish above them. However they have now had eight clean sheets this season compared to our one. Unless we can sort this out then I am inclined to come to the same conclusion that I made at Wycombe, that we have little chance of automatic promotion.
Unless of course a Man City style takeover takes place before the January transfer window. I continue to live in hope!