Sunderland put in one of their worst performances of the season as they were beaten 2-0 by Bristol Rovers.
A brace from Jonson Clarke-Harris either side of half-time was enough to sink the Black Cats who rarely looked like coming away from the Memorial Stadium with 3 points.
That result means that Sunderland have now dropped out of the League One play-off spots and have it all to do if they’re to get their season back on track.
But what did we learn about Phil Parkinson’s side? Let’s take a look.
Two changes but little impact
Phil Parkinson made two alterations to his starting XI – something which left many supporters excited about the new, ruthless approach being taken by the Sunderland boss.
Josh Scowen and Antoine Semenyo came into the side and were arguably two of the Black Cats’ top performers on the night, but unfortunately that wasn’t replicated by those around them.
Whether the selection gamble will lead Parkinson to revert to type against Blackpool remains to be seen, but it would be harsh on Scowen and Semenyo given the fact that other players were far worse on the night.
The other side of Kyle Lafferty
We saw the striker in all his glory as he scored a brace against Gillingham at the weekend, but last night was completely different.
Lafferty contributed very little to Sunderland’s cause in the first half and was treading a fine disciplinary line as half-time approached.
Already on a yellow card, Phil Parkinson decided to bring him off at the break to ensure that he didn’t see red in more ways than one.
Lafferty has always been fiery as a player, and perhaps against Bristol Rovers we’ve seen why Charlie Wyke is perhaps the more reliable option of the two.
Can you name every Sunderland player’s shirt number this season?
A stark wake-up call in the hunt for promotion
Losing a game is one thing, but putting in a performance like Sunderland did will not go down well with the fans.
The Black Cats looked to be favourites for promotion just a few weeks ago but since then things have gone off the boil with Sunderland looking like a shell of their former selves.
Sunderland supporters will be dreading the next few weeks as they get horrific flashbacks of a disjointed end to last season which ultimately saw them miss out on promotion.
Phil Parkinson’s side are certainly not entitled to go up, but there’ll no doubt be big repercussions if they fail to even reach the play-offs this time around.