With just five games remaining in the season, the University of Sunderland Men’s Football 2nd team currently lie seven points adrift of safety.

Ahead of the season resuming in the new year, we look at three ways Sunderland’s 2nd’s must improve if they are to avoid relegation from the BUCS Northern 5B league.

1- They have to start scoring

Sunderland have played five games so far, yet they have scored just seven goals in that time.

This lack of goals puts them dead last in the scoring charts for this season, a mammoth nine goals adrift of the high scoring Leeds Trinity.

Surprisingly for a team with such few goals, the attack has looked extremely threatening throughout the season, creating chance after chance.

Unfortunately, the finishing hasn’t been anywhere near the same level. With half a season left to play, Sunderland have time to turn it around, but the change has to happen soon otherwise they could find themselves falling even further behind in the league.

2- Their concentration has to get better

Despite their struggles, the Sunderland 2nd’s have been in control for large periods of every game, with their last three home performances particularly coming to mind.

But for every piece of great play, there’s been a mistake to cancel it out.

So far this season Sunderland have conceded 12 goals in their five matches, the joint worst defensive record of any team in their division.

Far too many times this season, Sunderland have virtually gifted the opposing teams three points. If the 2nd’s are to escape their current struggles it has to stop.

3- Luck

It’s arguably the most important part of a winning side. Even the most talented sides can fall apart if luck isn’t on their side and for Sunderland, bad luck has been the story of their season.

Whether it was the referee’s decision, the linesman’s flag or the ball hitting the post, nothing this season has seemingly gone Sunderland’s way.

Goalscoring and defending may be things Sunderland can turn around themselves, luck is something that may need some divine intervention to fix.

Either way, if Sunderland’s fortunes are to change some decisions have to start going their way.