Just when you thought Sunderland were closing in on a priceless victory, things inevitably took a turn for the worse.
The Black Cats’ shocking defeat to MK Dons last weekend was their third in a row, but given that one was in League One and not in a cup competition, it was all the more damaging.
The absolute minimum for Phil Parkinson’s side is earning promotion back to the Championship, but results like the one against the Dons, and the one against Doncaster on Saturday afternoon could end up costing them big time.
The only positive coming out of yet another disappointing game, was Grant Leadbitter. The veteran ace, who re-joined the Black Cats for his second spell at the club back in January 2019, was the one man who looked to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
The midfielder rolled back the years to give the Black Cats the lead with a superb effort from well outside the box, arrowing a fierce drive right into the top corner of the net.
The wonder strike led former Sunderland ace Stephen Elliott to wax lyrical about him on Twitter, dubbing him a “revelation” and their “best player” this season.
Unbelievable strike 😍 🔥.The build up to it was a pretty good move too, which isn’t shown fully here. So frustrating that it was not the winner. 😡 Grant Leadbitter has been a revelation this campaign. Sunderland’s best player by far this season. #safc pic.twitter.com/OjMebRjES9
— Stephen Elliott (@SleevesElliott) November 21, 2020
As well as his stunning effort, Leadbitter also boasted a 90% pass accuracy and delivered two key passes – both of which were team-highs for those who started the game for the Black Cats. And he also contributed defensively too, making another team-high of three interceptions.
For Sunderland though, seeing a 34-year-old midfielder nearing the end of his career being their best player against a mid-table side like Doncaster, is a hugely worrying sign for the long-term.