Sunderland midfielder Lynden Gooch had something of a shocker on Wednesday evening as Sunderland slipped up in their play-off semi-final first leg.
Having picked up four points against Lincoln City over their two meetings in the regular League One season, with a thumping 4-0 victory at the LNER Stadium back in December and a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light in March, Lee Johnson’s Sunderland side could well have gone into Wednesday’s clash against Michael Appleton’s outfit believing they held the upper hand over the Imps.
However, this was far from the case in the fixture itself, with second-half goals from Tom Hopper and Brennan Johnson securing a hugely important 2-0 win for Lincoln, and leaving the Black Cats with it all to do in the second leg of the tie if they are to have any hope of playing Championship football next season.
Perhaps unsurprisingly considering the result, a number of Lee Johnson’s players did not fare particularly well in the match, although, Lynden Gooch’s performance stood out as one of the worst on the night.
Deployed in the middle of an attacking midfield three, just behind centre-forward Charlie Wyke, Gooch was extremely ineffectual for the Black Cats in an offensive capacity, managing no shots on target and completing just one of his four attempted dribbles.
The £5k-per-week midfielder failed to ever really get a foot on the ball either, with his 47 touches over the 90 minutes only being more than that of Charlie Wyke, Jordan Jones and Denver Hume of Sunderland’s starting outfielders – with the latter of this trio being withdrawn after 11 minutes due to injury.
And, on the occasions the £540k-rated man did have the ball at his feet, he was extremely reckless with it, losing possession a whopping 20 times in the match, with no other Black Cats player losing the ball more often than the USA international.
Furthermore, Gooch also committed four fouls – with no player from either side making more – and won just three of his 11 duels – with a 27% success rate – while his overall SofaScore match rating of 6.3 was the joint-worst of any of Johnson’s starting XI.
As such, if Sunderland are to have any chance of overturning their deficit in the second leg of the semi-final, Gooch will undoubtedly have to up his game – if, that is, Johnson opts to stick with the 25-year-old in his starting XI.