OPPO: Crewe Alexandra
VENUE: Gresty Road
RESULT: Crewe 3, Sunderland 0
TEAM: . Poom, Wright, McCartney, Bjorklund, Arca, Quinn (Proctor 70), Healy, Whitley, Downing, Stewart (Black 83), Smith.
SUBS NOT USED: : Ingham, Clark,Thirlwell
BACK IN BLACK: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
“People will think it was an outstanding Crewe performance where they battered us off the park but they didn’t.
“We could have been 3-0 up in the first half but we didn’t score when we played well and they did.
“Their forwards were better than ours and I said to the players ‘there’s no point creating all those chances if you’re not going to take them’.”
“I’m not going to go into the dressing room and rattle the players for anything because they’ve played very well.
“There’s no point carping because we weren’t making any excuses during the first half.
“I wouldn’t swap my 11 players for their 11 and I haven’t seen a team that’s passed us off the park for being substantially better than us all season.”
Sunderland’s failure to put the ball in the back of the net cost them dear as Crewe produced a dazzling ten-minute spell in the second half.
Dean Ashton opened the scoring in the 53rd minute and it caused Sunderland to self-destruct.
Sunderland should have taken the lead in the first minute. Quinn’s cross from the right was met by Jeff Whitley and his first-time shot flashed just wide.
Whitley attempted his third shot of the first half in the 11th minute and it was saved by Ince, one of 20 efforts by Sunderland.
Crewe struggled to contain the visitors in the first half
It was an impressive start by the men from Wearside and all that was missing was a finish. Sunderland dominated in every department in the opening half, but somehow Crewe hung on.
Proctor came on for Quinn in the 70th minute but it failed to add a spark to Sunderland’s game.
Sunderland slumped to a frankly embarrassing defeat for which there can be no excuses.
Mick McCarthy’s men utterly dominated the first half at Gresty Road but in the story of their season they were unable to capitilise on their chances.
Dean Ashton headed home David Baughan’s cross from the left in the 53rd minute after poor defending.
Sunderland kept on going and created several more chances which, to nobody’s surprise, they failed to take.
And the worrying thing was that once Crewe had their tails up, they could have scored more.
The old master finally put one over the young pretender thanks to three stunning goals in a sensational 10-minute spell in the second half – Dario Gradi tutored Mick McCarthy when he was taking his coach’s badge.
David Vaughan hit a pinpoint cross from the left and Ashton – finding acres of space between the central defenders – powered in an unstoppable header.
After doing everything right until the avalanche of goals, they fell badly away and suddenly the absence of four key players told.
The visitors opened like they meant business and scorned six half chances in the first 20 minutes before finally being pushed back.
People Player Ratings: Poom 7 – Wright 6, Bjorklund 6, McCartney 6, Arca 6 – Quinn 7 (Proctor 69mins, 6), *HEALY 8, Whitley 7, Downing 7 – Stewart 7 (Black 83 mins), Smith 7.
The Railwaymen were under the cosh for most of the opening 45 minutes – the visitors shot out of the blocks as they laid siege to the Crewe goal in the opening stages.
David Vaughan had just made a crucial block to keep out Marcus Stewart, but seconds later he provided the cross from which Ashton took advantage of a square defence to head home in the 53rd minute.
The opportunities flowed for Sunderland as Healy had a 25 yard volley blocked by Foster and Marcus Stewart managed to volley Quinn’s cross over the crossbar.
Mick McCarthy’s shell-shocked side were then stunned again by Jones in the 63rd minute.
Jeff Whitley nearly scored his first goal for the Black Cats inside the first 60 seconds, but he could not convert Quinn’s cross from close range.
Sunderland lacked the firepower to answer Crewe’s blitz after the break.
Crewe were in control as they pushed to increase their goal tally
The Wearsiders were swept aside by three goals in 10 minutes at Crewe.
Sunderland were caught square as first Dean Ashton (53 minutes) and then Steve Jones (55) scored. Jones soon added Alex’s third.