Careless Sunderland drew 3-3 with Bolton Wanderers at the SOL on Tuesday evening in what turned out to be Simon Grayson’s final game in charge of the lads as he was sacked less than an hour after full time. Bolton took the lead midway through the first half through Sammy Ameobi before a brace either side of half time gave the lads the lead. Sunderland only held the lead for a minute before Bolton scored again through Gary Madine before five minutes later Karl Henry capitalised on a calamitous mix up in Sunderland’s half to give Bolton the lead. Paddy McNair salvaged a point for Sunderland ten minutes from time but this wasn’t enough to stop Martin Bain wielding the axe on Halloween.
It was reported in the build up to the game that anything but a win for Sunderland would see under fire manager Simon Grayson sacked by the club though Grayson was bullish in his pre match press conference insisting he was the right man for the job. However Sunderland’s form has been dreadful so far this season and the poor performance and result on Saturday against Bristol City contradicts this statement.
There were no fresh injury concerns for Grayson as he tried to record Sunderland’s first league win at the SOL since December last year. Sunderland have failed to win at home in eighteen attempts which was one short of another unwanted record for an English league club – a truly horrifying statistic.
Grayson shuffled his pack again for game making four changes to the side that lost against Bristol City with the goalkeeper he blew half of his transfer budget on dropped in favour of Robin Ruiter whilst Kone, Jones and Watmore made way for Matthews, Wilson and McManaman.
Bolton started the better of the sides with Ruiter having to deal with a swirling corner before Beevers drove a shot wide from just outside the box. Sunderland had a shout for a penalty waved away when McManaman tumbled in the box then soon after McGeady had a go from range but it took a deflection and looped harmlessly over the box.
Sunderland tried to keep possession but too often the ball was moved sideways or backwards whilst when we were out of possession there wasn’t anybody pressing. It was a lacklustre first half too many players walking about and showing no urgency or fight and Bolton grew more into the game and took the lead with Ameobi beating Ruiter from range with a left footed strike.
Boos immediately rang out around the stadium before there were chants of “we want Grayson out” from the home crowd before the away contingent started singing “you’re getting sacked in the morning” which the home support also joined in with. Sunderland did draw level on the stroke of half time when Lewis Grabban latched onto a through ball from Didier N’Dong and managed to slip the ball past former Sunderland keeper Ben Alnwick. Grayson made a change at the break with Jonny Williams replaced by James Vaughan and the forward was soon into the thick of the action trying an overhead kick but failing to find the target.
We took the lead soon after when a good passage of play involving McGeady and Oviedo presented Grabban with an open goal to nab his second goal of the game but Sunderland held the lead for only a minute as Gary Madine pounced on Marc Wilson’s wayward header to bundle the ball past Ruiter. The goal prompted another attacking change from Grayson who withdrew McManaman with Duncan Watmore replacing him.
Ten minutes later we were behind a game after conceding another horrific goal after Didier N’Dong’s attempted back pass was seized upon by Madine who crossed for Karly Henry to volley Bolton back into the lead. Grayson made his final change with Darron Gibson replaced by Paddy McNair with some fans booing Gibson off the field.
It was McNair got the equaliser ten minutes from time when he fired a low shot past Alnwick from twenty yards but we couldn’t muster a winner and the point proved not to be enough to keep Grayson in the hot seat. It’s not really surprising considering Sunderland’s woeful form and the amount of goals we have shipped so far this season – 30 goals in 15 games. Early twitter rumours suggest that the speed of the sacking might and the fact no caretaker manager has been named mean that the club already have someone lined up. If this is the case whoever it is has a big job on their hands.
Final Score: Sunderland 3 Bolton Wanderers 3
ALS Man of the Match: Lewis Grabban
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