I think that’s how the song goes, isn’t it?
So, first loss of the season, and one not entirely unexpected. To be fair, one defeat in four league games isn’t a bad start.
It could have been better, and if we had concentrated for just one more minute against Gillingham, it would have.
But yesterday was a free hit of a game, and we didn’t connect to anything. I can’t be arsed to check the stat, but one shot all afternoon?
It’s nowhere near the bad old days, the contests I’ve seen this season suggest that, and sometimes you’ll lose these type of fixtures.
This is not the first time a team has lost away from home without an effort on target. It won’t be the last.
Your editor answered some pre-match questions from Sunderland fanzine A Love Supreme, and while I’m (semi) glad I got the scoreline wrong, I didn’t about our full backs.
But then, I noticed that in our other games too. I hope that doesn’t become a weakness that other teams figure out.
If I had actually made it to the North East yesterday, and done a “proper” SW19 report, I would have labelled it Sunderland 1 Nik Tzanev 0.
That could be incorrect, although that was the vibe I got from plenty there.
And reading MR’s post-game comments, I don’t think he was particularly impressed full stop.
We’re in that strange period you tend to get early in the season, when it’s Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday.
That’s probably why he changed it again from Gills, and is also why we’ve probably not had a settled starting XI.
After Ipswich, it calms down again, assuming we don’t enter the Promised Land we’ve never experienced in so many years.
Or the Carabao Cup third round, as it’s otherwise known as.
I’m fully aware that a few of our fans have severe anxiety issues, and they’d panic if we lost an impromptu kickabout on the beach with some passing urchins.
But Northampton on Tuesday is probably the most important game of the week, because we need to get on track again.
We’re expected to win, and we need a reaction regardless. Lose, and already the confidence takes a hit – especially with a trip to Portman Road upcoming.
And you can guess the reaction from a few even now.
But a win will raise the spirits again, especially one where we find the net more than once, and with the added incentive of a decent home tie.
Then again – should we even be talking in these terms so early in the season?
There’s always been an unwritten rule of waiting ten games to see where the lie of the land is, and we’ll have a fair idea of what we’re about when Burton come to SW17.
And yes – we’ve done OK so far.
Perhaps not spectacularly, but if the Rona Mark III hit us all tomorrow and locked us up for the next nine months, finishing 14th would be considered an excellent season.
Performances like yesterday won’t give you much encouragement, but ones like Gillingham just a few days earlier should.
I don’t doubt MR is already planning on making sure we get through Tuesday, then show more of what we’re capable of next Saturday.
So I’m not unduly worried by yesterday. Though if we lose 3-0 at Sixfields, I reserve the right to call for everyone’s head…