400 miles for McGeady magic - Ethan's away days & player ratings!

Sunderland fans would make one of the longest trips possible in English football, travelling the length of the country, over 400 miles to Plymouth.

by Ethan_Thoburn Tuesday, 06 November 2018 04:33 PM Comments

 

Josh Maja returned to the starting 11, replacing Jerome Sinclair whilst Lee Cattermole was ruled out with injury and didn't travel. Jon McLaughlin travelled later after his wife gave birth but still started to keep his fourth consecutive clean sheet.

 

First Impressions

We left at 3:30 to undertake the absolute monstrous drive down to Devon. We eventually arrived in 'Britain's Ocean City' around 10:30 and, unable to check into our hotel, we went across the road to the Union Rooms pub which was conveniently a Wetherspoons.

After catching a taxi to the ground, Home Park was far from inspiring with only three stands still standing and a fourth half-demolished!

Around the ground itself there were a few pubs but the city centre was only a £6 taxi away or a short journey on a park and ride bus.

The away end was behind the goal and was just your typical modern/redeveloped ground. Onsale were some of the most expensive pasties I've seen for £4 as well as pies and beer, likewise overpriced.

 

The match

The first half saw Plymouth on top as the Lads struggled to break the home team down. We resulted to long range pot shots from Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch.

The opening period was one of the most boring 0-0 draws you could've imagined! Dylan McGeouch wasn't fantastic first half, but he was certainly better than he has been recently.

 

Second Half

Not long into the second half, Aiden McGeady shut me up after I'd slated him first half. He followed up a mazy dribble with smashing it into bottom corner from range past the helpless keeper, former Arsenal stopper Matt Macey.

Plymouth came close but McLaughlin made a fantastic save in his top left corner; the Scot kept Sunderland in the game a few times with some unbelievable saves.

Shortly from time, substitute Luke O'Nien was tripped inside the area. McGeady grabbed the ball from Gooch, which made me think that he was going to miss. However, the Irishman sent the keeper the wrong way and placed it in the keeper's left.

Argyle did have a penalty shout when Jack Baldwin appeared to handle the ball, but the shouts were rightly waved away as the central defender couldn't get out of the way.

 

What's Next

Sunderland again didn't play well, again, but got those three points, again. The signs of a fantastic team are there, we still have key players to return such as Cattermole, Duncan Watmore, Max Power, Bryan Oviedo, Denver Hume and even Maja back to 100% as he picked up a knock on Saturday.

We're are on the road again to Port Vale in the first round of the FA Cup, not the longest of trips and we'll be backed by over 4000 Mackems at Vale Park.

 

Ratings

McLaughlin: 9 - won the game for us, was continuously fantastic and made some unbelievable saves. Kept his 4th clean sheet in a row.

Matthews: 4 - didn't really do much, was beaten far to easily; if there was one position to improve it'd be right back.

Baldwin: 6 - was a decent, solid performance put in by the centre half.

Flanagan: 8 - made a goal saving tackle and kept us in it a few times in the first half.

James: 6 - a solid enough performance and is keeping Oviedo out of the side with his fourth consecutive clean sheet.

McGeouch: 6 - was better than he has been and it's his best performance yet but nothing to shout about. Did make a tackle rather than running away but no replacement for Cattermole.

Honeyman: 7 - battles and works week in week out even if he's lacking the quality of some of those around him.

Maguire (O'Nien '75): 7 - one of the fighters on the pitch and was one of the bright attacking sparks in the first half.

McGeady: 8 - was terrible first half to be honest, rarely lending a hand in defence. Second half he was decent, a fantastic goal but not a lot else apart from converting the penalty.

Gooch (Mumba '88): 6 - wasn't exactly fantastic but he played as well as required for an average rating. Still tries to do too much.

Maja (Sinclair '74): 6 - picked up a knock second half but wasn't really involved in the game and still doesn't look fully fit.

Substitutes

O'Nien: 6 - won a penalty near enough as soon as he came on.

Sinclair: 6 - the big lad certainly puts himself about and causes a nuisance for defenders.

Mumba: N/A

Thanks for reading and keep your eyes peeled for more away day reviews and player interviews.