On Tuesday night, fans saw Sunderland show their killer instinct in a stunning attacking display to beat Cheltenham Town 5-0. The result, which could have easily been larger, sends the Black Cats back to the top of the table and will undoubtedly make the rest of League One realise that Sunderland mean business this season.
Sunderland Show Killer Instinct as Cheltenham Brushed Aside
Change in Personnel and Formation
Lee Johnson surprised many with his starting lineup. His tried and tested 4-4-1-1 was changed to an attacking 4-4-2. On-loan Everton striker Nathan Broadhead started his first league game alongside Ross Stewart. Aiden OBrien and captain Corry Evans came into midfield with Bailey Wright and Niall Huggins replacing the injured pair of Callum Doyle and Dennis Cirkin.
If anyone believed the changes would disrupt the team, they couldn’t have been more wrong. Sunderland produced an attacking masterclass as they dominated from start to finish.
Cheltenham Dominated Following Lee Johnson’s Prediction
Cheltenham travelled to the Stadium of Light in inconsistent form, winning three, drawing three and losing three. Despite this, they will not have expected to have been steamrolled as they were.
Following Saturday’s victory at home to Bolton Wanderers, head coach Lee Johnson predicted that his team would soon show a killer instinct. He said, as cited by the Sunderland Echo: “Someone is going to get beat four or five, law of averages says it with the openings we’re creating.”
Pre-game, many thought three points were there for the taking; however, from the first minute, it appeared that this could be the game where Lee Johnson was proved correct.
Sunderland fans saw their team create wave after wave of attacks and it took just 11 minutes for the opening goal to be celebrated via a Bailey Wright header. Ross Stewart scored twice to make it 3-0 at halftime and Cheltenham could not have complained had it been more.
The second half went the same way as the first and two goals in two minutes midway through the half completed the rout. The Black Cats broke through the Cheltenham defence with ease, racking up 22 shots on goal, with many more than the five that went in coming close.
Lee Johnson Proud of His Team
Following the game, head coach Lee Johnson could not hide his delight. He told the Sunderland Echo: “I’m proud as punch really, for the whole club.
“I thought we were excellent and the lads who came in did the business. We were a threat all game and I think anyone would have found it tough to play against us today. We arguably could have had a couple more.
“We’ve still got loads to improve on but you can start to see that cohesion coming in now. A lot of stuff we work on has come out today and the lads deserve full credit of that.”
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