Shrewsbury's ground, initially named New Meadow or Greenhous Meadow but now Montgomery Water Meadow, was first on the agenda. To be honest, it's your typical modern ground, four stands with no corners and a capacity of around 10,000. The ground isn't anything to shout about and the away fans are set back behind the goal, it's difficult to see and just the pitch at the far end due to the amount of redundant grass around the perimeter.
Arriving early, we got a taxi into town and went to a Wetherspoon's called Montgomery Towers, we couldn't help but wonder if this had anything to do with Jimmy! However, getting back to the ground was a bigger task than first thought, the earliest we could ring a taxi for was 5:30! We'd left it too late to walk but luckily there was a shuttle bus. According to regulars, the bus only often carried 15 or so people but on Saturday there was no room whatsoever as it was crammed full of travelling Mackems.
The match wasn't great but we managed to escape any threats from the home team. Eventually, Sunderland took the lead through an own goal by Omar Beckles after it deflected off him into his own net past the helpless Coleman.
The visitors doubled the lead through substitute Luke O'Nien, with his second touch after playing a one two with Gooch.
There was optimism going into the midweek tie against Donny, despite leading goalscorer Josh Maja being rested. Not only the win at Shrewsbury, but Sunderland were set to be backed by 4000 travelling supporters for the relatively short journey to Yorkshire.
The Keepmoat, like Shrewsbury, is a fairly new ground but had a much greater capacity than it's Shropshire counterpart, holding in excess of 15000. Again, nowt to shout about in terms of what the ground is, just a bog standard modern ground with no real major talking points.
The stadium is located in what is basically an industrial area and the only drinking places were the Belle Vue bar, attached to the ground or there was a Beefeater pub on the retail park across the road; as well as a McDonald's and KFC which took an age to get served in.
The game was rather eventful and the referee made sure of that, with some absolute god awful decisions. Mallik Wilks wound the Sunderland fans up with jesting towards the travelling support after he somehow avoided a red for a lash out at Chris Maguire, off the ball and right in front of the linesman.
At half time, I even chatted to Stewart Donald who was mixing with fans and chose to take a place on the terraces rather than the director's box.
Lynden Gooch then cannoned a shot against the woodwork after some good footwork inside the second half, Adam Matthews crossed the rebound for 'The King' Chris Maguire to tap into the roof of the net.
O'Nien nearly grabbed two in two off the bench but the linesman already had his flag up when the midfielder tapped in a rebound after the goalkeeper spilled.
There was a bit of a fight on the bus coming home where the driver was hurt but luckily the bus got home, and the two lads were taken away in a taxi with blue lights on the roof. Overall, good couple of days and the next away day we face strugglers Plymouth Argyle in a 900+ mile round trip.
We certainly need to improve our level of play but what we can take away is that we can easily win without playing well which is the signs of a great team.
Keep your eyes peeled for an interview next week and then my views of Plymouth away too.
Thanks for reading.