Man City - Junior Match Report
After playing teams below us except Tottenham, the players and I were quite excited to play the table toppers Manchester City. We all knew the side would be under strength as four of our main defenders were injured and to add insult to injury Westwood didn't play too due to illness.
Anyway on with the game, it started with man city straight on the attack and ended up with a corner which was then cleared away leaving Sess to use his pace to get past Barry and then set up Bendtner for a one on one against Hart. Bendtner had no support so he tried to round Joe Hart although Hart didn’t go to the ground until the right moment and the chance was gone, what a start that would have been and something to hold onto. The next real main thing to happen was an injury to another defender. (Wes Brown) He was replaced with Matt Kilgallon giving him his first start this season. For the rest of the half the visitors had countless chances, the main ones with Dzeko clipping the bar and Gardner clearing off the line from a Nasri shot which looked like going wide but Gardner made sure.
At this time our makeshift defence looked solid. The next real chance was a Sunderland attack with Larsson and sess playing a one two until sess laid a ball for Gardner who's shot was just over the bar.
HT SAFC 0-0 Manchester City
Lets hope Mancini doesn’t bring on his big guns yet and rests them for Tuesday’s game against Liverpool.
My theory didn't last long as Aguero came on after half time with David Silva soon after again Man City had the better of possession and chances but they didn't make them count, Gardner blocking Zabaleta shot, Mignolet saving from Aguero even though Sess was fouled but no free kick given, another Aguero shot saved and Micah Richards also couldn't score the rebound as his header hit the bar. More chances missed for Man City and their supporters must be thinking how we are not winning this match by now.
In the last ten minutes the intensity increased once again as a Dzeko header went wide after a Silva free kick as mistakes were creeping in the visitors’ play, Lescott giving the ball away same as Kompany who over hit the pass for Aguero.
Also Sunderland had another chance as a Bendner flick on and a Sess turn give him a big chance to win the game but his outside of the boot finish went wide. All these chances missed, a draw must happen. MON played his final cards when Ji and Elmo came on for the tiring Bentdner and Vaughan. Our players had other ideas though as after a Man City attack broke down, Larsson broke through passing to Ji who realised it was 5 vs 3 and Ji played a smart one two with Sess who wriggled past a defender to slip Ji in and he rounded Hart and sent the 40,000 plus fans into raptures. This was the last kick of the game and it had a hint of offside as well but that makes it all square after Leon Osman's controversial penalty on Boxing Day.
FT SAFC 1-0 Manchester City
Man City fans and their Manager will say they deserved to win however they didn't finish the chances and we did our defence was magnificent and also Cattermole who looks a different player under MON.
RTG Junior Match Reporter
Sunderland AFC vs. Manchester City
Ji-Dong-Won’s 93rd minute winner gave Sunderland a dramatic one-nil victory over top of the league Manchester City in a pulsating finale to a thrilling New Year’s Day fixture.
Roberto Mancini’s City arrived on Wearside looking to take advantage of Manchester United’s defeat a day earlier and move three points clear of their rivals at the top of the Premiership, but a rejuvenated Sunderland side proved a surprise package.
Just four minutes had passed when from a City corner, Stephane Sessegnon played Nicklas Bendtner through one on one with Goalkeeper Joe Hart who saved well- and Sessegnon himself should have scored with a second half chance.
City saw a lot of the ball but faced a determined and organised Sunderland defence with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet magnificent.
Edin Dzeko and Micah Richards came closest for the blues both hitting the crossbar either side of the break, whilst City’s Sunderland born winger Adam Johnson threatened throughout but failed to find a way to goal.
And Man City’s efforts were to count for nothing when with just seconds left to play Sunderland broke free with Martin O’Neill shouting attack from the touchline.
Substitute Ji played a one-two with Sessegnon on the edge of the City box finding himself with only City keeper’ Hart to beat. The Korean rounded Hart before tapping the ball into an empty net sending fans, O’Neill and no doubt a relieved Sir Alex Ferguson into delirium.
The result makes it three wins from five games for Sunderland under O’Neill moving up to 13th in the table. Whilst Mancini will be ruing his sides missed chances as City have now failed to score in their last two games.
Sunderland’s injury problems pushed O’Neill into making four changes to the team that drew with Everton.
Mignolet replaced Keiron Westwood after two months out. Craig Gardner came in as make shift right back for the injured Phil Bardsley, Jack Colback filled in at left back for Kieran Richardson who fell ill and James Mclean was handed his first start in red and white.
Man City’s fixture pile up lead to Mancini leaving star men Sergio Aguero and David Silva on the bench and Mario Ballotelli was given the day off.
The first half started slowly but the first big chance of the game fell to Sunderland.
A Man City corner was cleared by Gardner with Sessegnon picking up the pieces before playing Bendtner through on goal just past the half way line. He took the ball wide hoping to round Hart in goal for the blues, but had his effort smothered and the chance had gone.
Shortly after City had another corner which was played short then given back to taker Johnson, he came close whipping a curled shot towards goal which clipped the roof of the net- almost reminiscent of the goal he scored at the Stadium of Light two years ago.
Wes Brown was withdrawn through injury to create further problems at the back for Sunderland. Matt Kilgallon replaced him at centre back making his first appearance of the season.
Edin Dzeko then forced a great instinctive save from Mignolet. Pablo Zabaleta gave the ball to Johnson out wide who weaved his way into the Sunderland box.
His shot was weak but took a deflection leaving Dzeko with a chance from just three yards out which he poked towards goal. Mignolet pounced instantly to keep the scores level.
City then piled on the pressure. Samir Nasri was next to come close as he saw his low goal bound shot brilliantly cleared off the line by the stretching Gardner.
In a ten minute period of dominance from Mancini’s men, another corner left Dzeko with a shooting chance from the edge of the box but the Bosnian could only find the crossbar with his fierce drive.
Gardner’s 45th minute long range effort had fans out of their seats but just missed the target to bring an end to the first half.
Mancini strengthened his attacking personnel bringing on Aguero and Silva at the expense of Nigel De Jong and Nasri following his side’s first half blank.
The second half started at a quicker pace than the previous 45 minutes. Dzeko was again presented with a chance on the edge of the Sunderland area following neat build up play from a corner. He once again wasted his chance blazing high into the stands.
Sunderland fans were then incensed as referee Kevin Friend failed to stop play when Sessegnon appeared to be fouled by Aleksander Kolarov. Play was allowed to go on seeing Silva put Aguero through on goal for City’s best chance of the game- Mignolet was again superb using his legs this time to keep the scores level.
Sessegnon produced another top class performance. He came close to putting Sunderland ahead on 65 minutes as Gardner’s throw in was flicked on by Bendtner into the path of the former Paris St Germain danger man. His skilful footwork beat Vincent Kompany but he chose to shoot with the outside of his boot shooting inches wide.
Sebastian Larsson was then booked for a tug on Aguero- he now misses the next game through suspension.
Silva crossed in the resulting free kick, Dzeko rose high but he again sent his effort wide heading several yards past Mignolet’s post.
With just two minutes left on the clock it looked like the fixture was heading towards the first nil-nil between the teams since 1938, but city almost snatched a winner.
Silva fired a thunderbolt of a shot into the palms of Mignolet who parried the ball into the path of Richards, his diving header looped over the Sunderland keeper and onto the crossbar leaving City fans behind the goal with head’s in hands knowing that was their last chance to take three points.
Three minutes of added time had been played when Aguero cut inside shaping to shoot a final effort towards goal. He slammed the ball onto the head of Kilgallon with Larsson picking up the loose ball. The Swede pushed the ball wide to Mclean who passed to late substitute Ji.
With all 40,625 inside the Stadium of Light now on their feet O’Neill and the fans roared for Sunderland to push for one last attack with seconds remaining.
Ji played the ball into the Sessegnon who produced a defence splitting pass back into the feet of Dong-Won with only Hart in goal to beat. Ji proved the calmest man inside the stadium dribbling the ball around Hart before stumbling and poking the ball over the line to claim a sensational last gasp winner.
The Stadium of Light erupted into pandemonium as Ji celebrated at the corner flag mobbed by hundreds of fans- one planting a huge smacker on the cheek of the Korean.
It was a hard earned reward for O’Neill and Sunderland as they battled to the death keeping City at bay throughout.
Mancini was left frustrated having seen his players miss several chances and waste the opportunity to move clear of Man United.
As for Sunderland the stadium was filled with joy as fans celebrated the greatest win on home turf this season climbing to 13th in the table six points clear of the relegation zone.
40,625 (Man City 2,000-2,500)
Keep the faith.
Sunderland's Pride of Place
You don't know what you've got 'til its gone.
Or maybe you only really know when it comes back.
It was there on the field and on the terraces in all its red and white glory.
It was etched in the face of Lee Cattermole, a player, like a fair few others, who'd been written off, in his case as a footballing madman with the positioning sense of a headless chicken, just a few short weeks ago.
And it was evidenced most of all in the poised features of Martin O'Neill, whose after match comments in the heat of exuberance of a most unlikely victory were touched with genius.
If they didn't feel ten feet tall after beating the billionaire's playthings then each and every Sunderland player will certainly be touching the ceiling today after O'Neill's response to the pride and passion they showed.
Not going overboard and claiming Catts is now the symbol of all that is controlled and cool in midfield play. No. He said it was far too early for that, letting the player know there are roads he must yet travel.
But after the slightest of touches of the whip out rolled the praise to "my captain".
Now this is a manager who knows how to motivate. Under the previous occupant the onset of pre-match flu following a spate of defensive injuries would likely have taken the excuse monitor into levels unheard of by man nor beast.
Not any more. Just as the Everton non-penalty was handled with grace so was the sweet taste of victory. Maybe there is indeed karma and things do come round.
But it's more than just among the players. The pride is back in the stands.
Of course we may lose against Wigan - one day's rest after a performance like that is a tough hill to climb - and supporters will moan.
But the distressing gulf that was widening - thanks to the weakness of the former manager egged on by the braying of a sycophantic media - between the players and those that pay to watch is healed.
Together once again. It is a potent pairing.
F.A. Cups have been won by that.
(Our Canadian Correspondent)