Phil Parkinson’s short reign at Sunderland has already been a rollercoaster ride. Coming off the high of beating Tranmere Rovers 5-0 in the league in a midweek fixture, the Black Cats travelled to Shrewsbury and despite being the better side, came away with a 1-0 defeat. Marc McNulty came off the bench after an hour but had little impact in trying to help his side avoid losing.
Fast forward to another midweek fixture this past Tuesday, and Sunderland were on the road again, this time in the Carabao Cup to fellow League One side Oxford United. Parky’s side suffered a 5-4 penalty shootout defeat after the game finished 1-1 in ninety minutes. This game had mixed fortunes for Reading loanee McNulty, as the Scot played the full ninety and scored the goal that forced the shootout. However, McNulty would miss the decisive penalty that saw his side crash out of the cup.
Photo used in the Guardian online from tonight’s cup clash between Oxford and Sunderland. Marc McNulty scores in the remaining minutes of the second half to take the game to penalties. Shot working for @ProSportsImages pic.twitter.com/BzXPx2hGcA— Nigel Keene (@keene_nigel) October 29, 2019
With the form Steaua Bucharest are currently in, you could be forgiven for forgetting that they started the season so badly. Last Saturday Steaua travelled to bottom-three side Hermannstadt in Liga I, with the visitors romping home to a 4-0 victory. Adrian Popa got a rare start for the Romanian side and took the opportunity with open arms, grabbing himself a goal on the stroke of half time.
The hosts failed to clear properly from a Steaua throw in deep in their own half, and the ball fell to Florinel Coman, whose clever backheel took two defenders out of the game and straight into the path of Popa, who slotted home the one on one. A cool finish will give the winger confidence to push on and claim a regular starting berth.
Steaua also progressed in the Cupa Romaniei in midweek with a 1-0 win away at Universitatea Cluj in the Round of 16. Popa did not feature in this game.
The fairy tale for Tom Holmes’ KSV Roeselare came to an end this past weekend as they could not make it three wins in a row, after waiting until the eleventh attempt to win a league game this season, as they lost 3-2 away to Virton. Despite a spirited performance that saw the visitors take the lead twice, the hosts pegged them back and got their winner just over fifteen minutes from time.
Holmes made his first start and played the full ninety minutes for the Belgian side but was unable to help his side hold on to claim another victory. Roeselare sit just one place and one point above bottom side Lommel United.
Denizlispor finally arrested their slump of six Super Lig games without a win after beating Genclerbirligi 2-0 away from home last Sunday. The visitors can count themselves lucky to come away from that game with a generous score line as the home side dominated the game but could not find the back of the net. Mo Barrow started this game but was brought off with ten minutes to go. Despite being on the winning side, this was not one of Mo’s better performances, and he will have to improve if he wants to keep his place in the side, with former Leeds United winger Hadi Sacko chomping at his heels.
The story of Cambridge United’s inconsistent season continues as they were beaten 2-0 away at rivals Northampton Town. A game that certainly could be argued that Cambridge had the better of, Sam Smith started the game but put in a poor performance before being substituted with ten minutes to go.
Atletico Baleares made it seven wins in a row as they dispatched Internacional 4-1 last weekend in the Segunda Division B Group 1. With the game 1-1 at half time, it was all to play for, but the top of the table side showed why they are five points clear at the top, with a devastating second half performance, putting Internacional to the sword. Jordan Holsgrove started once again but was brought off with just over twenty minutes to go, with the score at 3-1.
Tennai Watson finally got a taste of league action at the weekend, albeit only an appearance off the bench. His Coventry City side travelled to Peterborough United, in a great game contested by two teams currently sat in the League One playoff spots. The home side battled back from a goal down twice to rescue a point in a 2-2 draw. Coventry led 1-0 at half time, but Marcus Maddison equalised for Posh from the penalty spot.
The visitors thought they had grabbed a winner five minutes from time through Maxime Biamou, but Mohamed Eisa converted in the 95th minute to break travelling fans hearts. Watson came on, on the hour mark but had little affect in the game. The youngster will certainly be glad to get some minutes however, as first choice right back Frankaty Dabo is suspended for this weekends game, likely meaning Watson will start.
Two defeats in a week for Hamilton leaves them just one point above the relegation spots in the SPL. They suffered a 3-2 away defeat to St Johnstone last weekend and were then beaten at home by Aberdeen 1-0 in midweek. Luke Southwood was not a part of the matchday squad for the St Johnstone game, but was an unused sub in midweek against Aberdeen.