Junior Reporter - Blackburn
In Martin O'Neill's first game, this was the start of a new era for Sunderland AFC and a chance to re-start the season. The game started with our new manager being presented to us (the loyal fans) which was received well with flags shown too.
Once the game started Sunderland started the brighter with a string of passes between the midfield and defence to unlock Blackburnís defence. As usual lots of possession but we couldn't carve out any chances as confusion set in due to good defending. Crosses were coming every minute but none of them past the mighty Chris Samba. Our first real chance came when a quick breakaway with Larsson stretching his leg sets Sess off and once he turned Dann, he saw Rico but it was a pass back surely although Lowe slipped which allowed Rico an easy chance but with hardly any confidence in the team the touch was heavy and it allowed Paul Robinson to save the shot.
That was then quickly followed by a Larsson pass along the box which met Rico, eventually, however Scott Dann got back just in time to deflect for a corner. Throughout the half you could see there wasn't an easy fix with passes going astray and a crowded midfield. Blackburn had few chances mostly coming from free kicks and that is exactly how they scored, a Pedersen free-kick drifted it's way to Samba easily and a neat turn left Westwood saving a powerful shot which he couldnít do anything but push back and the man in the mask or Simon Vukcevic was waiting to pounce. This I thought was the end in a tense game.
Blackburn kept upping the set pieces count so it was inevitable when a free kick caused chaos in our penalty box and Westwood jumped but missed, he appeared to be fouled from my view by Samba however, after a motd replay this was proved wrong. Very lucky Westwood and SAFC!
HT- Safc 0-1 Blackburn
We needed some inspiration from somewhere, where though was the question?
The second half was a lot better. The formation changed pushing Bardsley and O'Shea forward. It worked for the most with Blackburn hardly out of their own half. Again Richardson had our chance when a scramble fell to him but the Blackburn defenders blocked it again but this time not on purpose which left Robinson flying to his left to push it away, a super save applauded by all fans.
Now the impetus was with Safc and our manager sensed that so the subs came with James McClean for Colback and Ji for a tiring Wickham who had played well and clearly not match fit but played for 70 minutes. With our new players on it was time for action and that definitely happened as with his first touch he tricked his way to the touchline and whipped in a near perfect ball but it missed everybody( McClean) Now that's the way to make a good impression. From that point all play came from him including our goal, his cross was headed away then it set up for a belter but the source was very unusual, Vaughan from 25 yards.
With that goal the game increased intensity with every single player wanting to snatch a winner and gladly we did. The midfield switched the play to stretch the defence but one time it was up high, a hand connected with it Pederson I believe, resulting in a dangerous free kick in Larssonís territory. The stadium was bouncing when he curled it perfectly into the corner. That is now hopefully our confidence returning and SAFC can climb up the table.
FT Safc 2-1 Blackburn
What an ending to O'Neill's first game, we have a very tough trip to Tottenham away next week though so letís get behind them as usual. The turning point was when McClean was brought on as he injected more pace in attack, a natural left winger it seems.
A thought to Blackburn though with all of their subs gone within 55 minutes. A goal wrongly disallowed and a defence who put their bodies on the line.
RTG Junior Match Reporter