Another lacklustre Wearside afternoon: 5 reflections on Sunderland v QPR

Mike Dodds claimed his first point in his third interim spell in charge of Sunderland with a goalless draw against QPR on Saturday.

Anthony Patterson made some key saves to keep the match level, while the Black Cats failed to register a shot on target during the course of the 90.

2WT8BB4 Queens Park Rangers’ Kenneth Paal battles for the ball with Sunderland’s Romaine Mundle during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland. Picture date: Saturday March 16, 2024.

Here are the key talking points:


There felt a tinge of relief come the full-time whistle in amongst the boos, as Sunderland’s awful six-match losing streak eventually came to an end.

However, the Black Cats still remain seven now without a win, and the performances haven’t been at the standard supporters expect, and that has led to recent weeks’ criticism.

A defeat to Cardiff City on Good Friday, though, would represent a whole calendar month without a win; the first since March 2020, the month where all of the leagues were cancelled less than midway through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


If there was a silent sense of relief at the full-time whistle, it was at the point, and not the overall performance. Once again, this was too lethargic, and the lack of shots on target speaks its own story.

Luis Hemir was trialled up front once more but never really caught the eye of those inside of the Stadium of Light, while Abdoullah Ba and Romaine Mundle, despite their little bursts of energy, struggled to create anything of note.

The fact that one of their best efforts came when Dan Neil tried to lob Asmir Begovic from just past the halfway line was as frustrating as it got on another lacklustre Wearside afternoon.

2WT8JYG Sunderland’s Dan Neil battles for the ball against Queens Park Rangers’ Lucas Andersen during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland. Picture date: Saturday March 16, 2024.


Anthony Patterson has had his fair amount of criticism over recent weeks after some questionable goalkeeping leading to goals, but on Saturday he was back to his best.

Making his 100th consecutive league appearance, the Sunderland goalkeeper made sure that the Black Cats took a point away from this contest with some key saves to keep Marci Cifuentes’ side at bay.

Twice Ilias Chair went close in the first half, whilst substitute Sinclair Armstrong made a huge difference for the R’s on the break, with Patterson denying the striker twice, before the ‘keeper made a big save to stop Chris Willock’s tap-in.

For Sunderland to end this season positively, they will need Patterson to be back at his best.


March’s international break couldn’t have come at a better stage for Dodds’ side, as they have some time to work on the training ground after a busy few weeks.

Callum Styles will head on international duty with Hungary, and Trai Hume and Dan Ballard will both meet up with Northern Ireland, but for the rest of the group, there’s some pivotal training minutes.

Also, Dodds expects Corry Evans and Aji Alese to both be back in action come the resumption of the league season, while it was a welcome return to the squad for Bradley Dack on Saturday, who may get some time for the under-21s in their matches against Newcastle and Leicester this upcoming week.

2WT8G9N Sunderland manager Mike Dodds gestures during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland. Picture date: Saturday March 16, 2024.


This draw, and others in the league, mean that Sunderland lie 13 points from the top six, nine points from the bottom three, and sit right in the middle of the division in 12th.

So, for one of the first campaigns in a long time, it means that the Black Cats will have very little to fight for in their last eight matches.

Of course, Dodds would like to win all of the remaining matches, but with the last seven displays in mind, that looks a massive long-shot.

The Black Cats will, though, look to finish the season in the best possible way to make a campaign that started with so much promise end in some sort of optimism.