When Leadbitter rounded the keeper at Loftus Road earlier this season, was this the moment people began to realise that this club was on the up? It’s funny how fate draws out the cards of destiny with Leadbitter winning the game at QPR, then St. Mary’s and then being placed on the bench today only to come on and wrap up another vital three points. I could not give a flying turd about fate but destiny looks to be in the shape of the Premiership after such a long nail biting season and plenty to keep us occupied in the shape of Niall and Roy.
Miller was dropped for the captain Deano, Wallace and Murphy also came back in the squad which boasted a healthy three strikers on the bench to assault QPR if need be later on in the game. Leadbitter would not have been content on the bench but if he can come off and do ‘Scholes’ like efforts like that then who are we to judge Keano’s tactics (which have been spot on thus far).
Edwards started as usual bright and attacking down the right and fed the ball into Connolly numerous times but nothing came from our possession. Until ‘The Noz’ brought the ball out of defence in the 7th minute and played a crisp ball into Connolly’s feet who trickled the ball into Whitehead’s surging run. Only one winner in this one on one and Deano placed the ball coolly under the ‘Camp’ QPR Goalie, sorry!
Once the lead was taken by Sunderland we thought another great relaxed day in the sunshine and even played the ball around with some ease but this was soon changed as we messed up at the back in the 24th minute. There was no trouble at the back and Simpson could have gone sideways or back to Ward but in his cockiness he decided to play forward only to find an opposition shirt. The ball found its way through to Blackstock who pushed it past Ward and the penalty was awarded to many peoples disbelief. Rowlands placed it in the other corner to Ward and the away fans started to believe again.
The main difference now with Sunderland in charge by Keano is that people now expect the winner to come straight away and fear no-one coming back at us. It is a good mentality to have but this could come back to haunt us when we get promoted! The atmosphere was subdued and odd at times but with the unbeaten run that we are now embarking on many fans expected another goal to come sooner or later.
Hard-work by Edwards created many good crosses but no-one in the middle could provide the vital touch for the leading goal. 2nd half brought on John for Murphy but after Connolly’s desperation to score maybe he should of left the industrious hardworking Daryl on for the end of the game.
Although the Sunderland defence was not it’s normal self with a few poor passes and dodgy clearances the possession and attacking momentum was still there for Sunderland to take all the way home. As soon as Leadbitter replaced the quiet Yorke the game suddenly changed as we created many corners and won plenty of free kicks around the area. It looked like it was going to be one of those games as Derby and Brum were leading at half time the vital goal could prove to be very important in the promotion race.
Standing on the edge of the penalty area Leadbitter looked for someone to spot him in acres of space to deliver the vital blow to QPR. He received the ball and without any doubt struck the ball in the far corner of the keepers net to send the 39000 Mackems on their way! A similar celebration to show he can not only score on the road but at the Stadium he was introduced to as a Sunderland lad, gotta love him!
The game simmered down and with the introduction of Stokes we ran the clock down to win another massive game and move a step closer to the Premier land. With Derby slipping up at Portman road surely it is just another win needed for promotion? Who knows but we will all be thinking we are there when we are pissed tonight!
MOM – Toss of a coin between Nyron and Leadbitter for his goal. I will hand it to Leadbitter seen as he has made my week completer, again!
a.k.a Gary Johnson