When Sunderland played Crewe on Saturday, they went into the game full of confidence.
They had won three league games on the bounce but the performance they put in was anything but assured at Gresty Road.
In fact, it was quite possibly the worst performance of Lee Johnson’s tenure so far. Of course, they didn’t lose the game, but the way in which they snatched a point was nothing short of daylight robbery.
The Mackems were slow, lacked quality and allowed Crewe to score all too easily. Chris Porter scored a tap in with half an hour gone but just eight minutes later Tom Lowery made it two.
When Grant Leadbitter went off with a dislocated shoulder, things only went from bad to worse. It looked as though Sunderland’s chances of promotion were going to be dealt a huge blow before Johnson made four changes.
It proved to be the catalyst as Jordan Jones and Chris Maguire both scored superb strikes to rescue a 2-2 draw.
Jones has been lively since his move to the Stadium of Light and he more than stepped up to the plate on this occasion, taking Aiden McGeady’s place on the left-hand side with an hour played.
He was considerably off the pace and lacked the quality we’ve become so accustomed to seeing from him since Johnson brought him back in from the wilderness.
McGeady had just 30 touches of the ball down the left, a tally that happened to be worse than goalkeeper Lee Burge. It spoke volumes that the goalkeeper was more involved in proceedings than one of their best players this term.
The veteran winger has usually been a rampant threat down the left but on this occasion; he didn’t attempt a single dribble. Traditionally so precise with his crosses, he also failed to provide an accurate ball into the area for Charlie Wyke. No wonder the club’s top goal scorer was so starved of service.
To make matters worse, McGeady was also weak in physical situations. He didn’t win a single ground or aerial battle; proving to be the only such player to do so from any Sunderland player on Saturday – that’s including the substitutes. He was, unfortunately, virtually anonymous.
You can excuse this display because of how good the 34-year-old has been of late. That being said, it cannot afford to become a regular thing, especially with Johnson’s men in the hunt for promotion.