There is always a question mark before almost any football match and this afternoon, as we made the trip to the north east to face a Sunderland side who have had a woeful start to the season, the question surely surrounded whether or not it would be possible for us to maintain our excellent start in terms of away fixtures. On paper, we had to be favourites. On the back of three successive away wins, particularly given the places we had achieved those victories in and against a Sunderland side short on confidence, I am sure that many of us almost expected the three points. That in itself is testimony to the journey Bilic has already taken the Irons on.
As we know only too well though, football games are not won on paper. A schoolboy error, by far from the first this season from a Hammer, this time from Jenkinson, gave away a needless free kick in the opening six minutes. The resultant play had clearly been worked on at the training ground by our opponents although, our own marking and general awareness left something to be desired and against the pre-match odds, we were behind to Sunderland’s first goal in a while and some!
It went from bad to worse. We struggled to gain any sort of foothold into the game and, in contrast, our opponents who were clearly buoyed by their early success and being backed on by the home roar continued to dominate and cause us multiple problems .