As some of the Sunderland players dropped to the ground after the full-time whistle against Hull, loud boos rang out around the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats remain within touching distance of the play-off places, yet Friday’s 1-0 defeat felt like a hugely damaging moment, with a section of the home fans chanting ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ at head coach Michael Beale. Here are some of the moments you may have missed:
Clarke’s message after transfer interest
Jack Clarke made his 100th Sunderland appearance in the match against Hull, following reported interest from multiple Premier League clubs. West Ham have been strongly linked with the winger this month, yet the Black Cats don’t feel they are in a position where they have to sell, with the 23-year-old seemingly content on Wearside.
In an interview for the club’s matchday programme, Clarke said: “Not only am I extremely proud to play for Sunderland, but I’m also really proud of what we have achieved over the last two years. Back-to-back play-off finishes and a promotion from League One has been nothing short of eventful, but within that, there has been many success stories.”
Alex Pritchard’s frustrated reaction
In a first half of few goalscoring opportunities, Michael Beale tried to call for his side to step up the pitch when Hull were in possession and playing out from the back. Alex Pritchard, who started on the right, then found himself in a central position and tried to apply pressure on the visitors’ defenders, without support from his teammates. Pritchard subsequently turned to Beale and put out his arms in frustration, before the Black Cats boss once again called for his team to push forward.
Mike Dodds steps forward
While Beale was on the edge of his technical area shouting instructions in the first half, assistant Mike Dodds was the coach on his feet at the start of the second period, urging the side on. Beale then stood up again later in the half, yet the team’s struggle to create chances continued.
Costly decision by the officials
There was some controversy about Hull’s winning goal which was scored by Fabio Carvalho in the 71st minute after a corner, with the forward’s shot taking a deflection off Dan Neil. Yet Sunderland could argue the corner shouldn’t have been awarded, after Tigers striker Billy Sharp clattered into Black Cats goalkeeper Anthony Patterson, with the ball appearing to come off the Hull player last. “It seems to touch Sharp last so should really have been a goal-kick, but you still need to defend the set-piece better,” said Sky Sports commentator Andy Hinchcliffe.
Yellow cards aplenty
Referee Robert Jones dished out five bookings to Hull players in the first half, while some will feel Tigers’ captain Lewie Coyle was fortunate to only receive a yellow card after going in with his elbow to foul Nazariy Rusyn in the first half.
The visitor finished the match with seven bookings, as goalkeeper Ryan Allsop was shown a yellow card for time wasting towards the end of the game. Pierre Ekwah and Jack Clarke were also booked for Sunderland.