Travelling down the A690 from Doxford Park towards the SoL at high speed, I was angry and anxious. I was kept back at work until 8pm, on the night of the arrival of Cardiff City so not only did I miss the opening 21 minutes (that’s good considering it only took me 6 mins to get from my car to my seat) but I also missed the opening Chopra goal and the equaliser from Chris Brown. I know what your thinking, why didn’t you leave work earlier, if I could believe me I would but the Geordie Northern Rock boys would not allow it.
So my apologies for this report not being 100% in the middle of it all as I had other duties but my loyalty got me to the Stadium to encounter a very unbalanced game with no real flow to it. I was informed by my friend that the opening goal was harsh on Dwight Yorke who won a perfectly timed tackle only for the referee to say it was a foul which lead to the opener. The referee and linesmen we will discuss a little later, and they don’t deserve even a mention for that performance tonight. Michael Chopra accepted this gift from the ref and simply tapped in from a poor defensive clearance.
When I calmed down from the journey to the Stadium and checked out the starting eleven I was shocked to see no David Connelly involved after an encouraging sub appearance at Hull. These fears were slightly rested as news after the game spread he was injured in training, hopefully not to serious as he was sorely missed tonight in a game with so little service to the strikers. The fears were again amplified when the back four was noticed, all four of them are preferred centre backs and it doesn’t give you much hope for points with them in defence. The game for the defence really highlighted the need for change with both the Collins’s’s having both nightmares and Varga didn’t help by having one of his poorest games. It was told in schoolboy football never to let the ball bounce and to clear as soon as it gets near you. The amount of times the ball was left to bounce was shocking, and the communication between the players was non existent.
Again apologies for not being able to describe the Chris Brown goal any better but the main thing that was discussed was the quality of Hysen’s cross to set the goal up. I have been impressed with the Swede but he did absolutely nothing except this cross from the 70 minutes I seen of him, something Wallace should be unhappy about as he may have made a difference tonight.
The game was there for the taking but yet again the Sunderland defence leaked another goal that should of been comfortably dealt with, again Chopra scored and wound the home faithful up more by taunting them. Chopra has found his level and is looking to take this division by storm, it is something that we so badly desire, a striker who is capable of scaring oppositions defences but we have to rely on Brown and Murphy (hardly scary even on Halloween).
So with our backs against the wall and a tetchy, impatient home crowd we had to start performing to our best standards. The best chance fell to Hysen who after a nice through ball from Deano blazed high and wide when clean through. This was a very good chance and could have changed the game in our favour but that was it for the rest of the game in fairness, chance-wise.
The second half started with no changes and hopefully a good kicking up the arse from Keano who must be sick of working with this lot by now. Roll on January as we are all thinking.
Yorke had a chance in the opening 10 minutes but a great block from their defence denied him his first home goal. Yorke played well tonight but did try to do too much on the ball and ultimately ended up losing possession because of this. He likes to keep the passing short and sharp its just a shame none of the defence are on his wavelength with high hoofs for most of the second half leading to nothing.
Even with the introduction of Kavanagh and Leadbitter we still didn’t look like scoring with Murphy having a header saved on the line by their keeper Alexander. It was all huff and puff but we never really got anywhere with a few goal mouth scrambles but the ball never falling to a red and white shirt. All of this pressure from 75-85 min got me thinking another late goal would be on its way but Cardiff frustrated and cheated in places to get a hard fought victory.
The referee and linesmen tonight shows exactly why the referee in this league, none of them could make a decision that was correct and lost control of the game in places. Sunderland had a few penalty shouts and even a shout from me after Yorke was clattered by Alexander when he was about to score. All of this is pointless now the game is over and we can only hope that Saturday brings us any joy.
After the game Keane was quoted as saying: “”We were very, very poor. We lost it everywhere – the goal we gave away, our passing, our tackling, our movement; everything really was poor.” – Couldn’t of said it any better Keano.
Man of the Match – Yorke, but it was just because he passed it simply.