Jason McAteer has defended Sunderland’s performance today, after winning only narrowly through a 90th minute goal from Michael Proctor in a match which bottom-of-the-table Wimbledon fought hard in, and almost took a point. Sunderland were without the influential Julio Arca, serving the first match of a two-match ban.
The team captain said after the match, “Teams come here and they’ll get everyone behind ball and a quick, big man up front; we try and break them down.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t work – we don’t mean it that way, we don’t want it to be that way at all – we’re all giving it 100%.”
Sunderland wasted chance after chance which tried the patience of the supporters, many of whom resorted to booing when further chances were missed, and the boos rang out again when the teams left the pitch for half time. McAteer said, “We feel it and we hear it – we try our best.”
Sunderland went ahead in the 30th minute, courtesy of a Marcus Stewart penalty after former Sunderland lad Darren Holloway tripped George McCartney in the area. But the Dons equalised courtesy of a Paul Thirlwell own-goal seconds before half time, prompting more boos as the teams left the pitch.
Marcus Stewart was substituted in the 83rd minute, replaced by Michael Proctor, prolific recently for the reserves – and within seven minutes he’d restored Sunderland’s lead.
But only seconds after Proctor’s face-saving goal, Kevin Kyle was sent off: the Scot received a yellow card from referee Mark Warren after raising a hand to the Dons’ Rob Gier, then another one for ‘foul and abusive language’ to Mr Warren.
McAteer said, “My understanding of it when I spoke to linesman was that it was going to be 2 yellow cards, one to each player – then the ref’s given out 2 to Kyle. It shocked us, even shocked the linesman. But hopefully we can get something sorted out.
“I’ve never seen that in football, I’d be surprised if that ref – and he’s a good ref – has done that before.”
“We started well in the 2nd half, we’d been unlucky in the 1st half.
We pushed and pushed but it’s not been a classic.”
And McAteer warned the fans that they shouldn’t expect any transforming player moves.
“This is us now, and it’s not going to be pretty – the fans have to understand the financial situation we’re in. It’s not going to get any better before end of the season.
“The crowd wants to see the Zidanes and the Ronaldos playing for us – but it isn’t going to happen.”
Wright, Bjorklund, Babb, McCartney,
McAteer, Thirlwell, Whitley, Oster,
Subs: Ingham, Kyle, Proctor, Williams, Butler.