Image: How Lee Cattermole reacted after Sunderland’s defeat to Fleetwood

Sunderland were on course to take the fight for automatic promotion to the final day as they led Fleetwood Town for 44 minutes during their League One clash at Highbury on Tuesday night, but a late collapse ensured they were officially consigned to the play-offs.

Defeat for Portsmouth on the same night meant that the Black Cats had the perfect chance to jump above the south coast club in the table and still have something to play for this weekend, even if they needed a win and a goal difference swing.

However goals from Paddy Madden and Ashley Eastham in the final 17 minutes ensured that wasn’t going to happen.

Sunderland fans have suffered a lot of heartache over the years but one fan manages to pick his ultimate low in the video below…

The latter found the net in the 94th minute to rub salt into the visitors’ wounds, with Jack Ross’ men struggling for form and only taking only two points from the previous nine available ahead of their trip to Southend United on Saturday.

Midfielder Lee Cattermole is known for his committed performances – and yellow cards – on the pitch, and you may have expected that he in particular would have been furious after the late goal that ensured the Mackems would return to Wearside with no points.

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole reacts after late defeat to Fleetwood

However, the 31-year-old instead cut a forlorn figure as you can see from the photograph above, which indicates the lack of confidence he and his teammates have right now.

Sunderland need to pull themselves together in the coming days and weeks if they are to secure an instant return to the Championship, especially given they could face either Pompey or an in-form Charlton Athletic in the play-off semi-finals.