Sunderland in London: a play in four acts

ACT ONE ………… Capital jitters

London games do bring occasional pleasure but it has been so occasional in my many years as a supporter that I have learnt to expect the worst each time we play in the capital. For each of those moments of ecstasy – 4-2 at Chelsea, 3-2 (League Cup) at Arsenal and 4-1 at Upton Park (v Charlton) come to mind – there have three or four of despair.

So when Steve Luckings predicted 2-1 to his team Spurs, in his Who Are They? feature, I wasn’t able to offer a bold riposte. I said, with what I hoped would be false pessimism: “You’ll win by two or three. Sunderland fans are like that.”

Let’s hope that downbeat outlook is about to be proved ludicrously wrong……Ha’way the Lads.

ACT TWO……….. Glass half full

Some very bright play, Malbranque’s sweet shot against the post, some great Nosworthy headed clearances when in danger, one or two scares in our box after runs down the right…..a dreadful Jenas tackle on Diouf unpunished apart from a free kick……what an encouraging first 45 minutes. Keep it up lads and we might get something here…..

Act three……joy, misery, nerves and RENEWED joy

Never write off the Lads. After Richardson’s superb opener, poor play from us and a Spurs equaliser made defeat look more likely than even a draw. Having gone one up, we had by far our worst spell. the more we played deep, the more they looked like scoring – not least because Craig Gordon flapped a bit (while also pulling off some exceptional saves).

Then Spurs in turn failed to remain as effective after scoring. Murphy and Cissé combined with fantastic effect, we held on and the points were ours. Me a pessimist? Never!

Act four….the post-match celebrations

And I bet there’ll be some……looked good from Abu Dhabi, but I wish I was there. As a rather nice bonus, a text message from Fatima al Shamsi, the Emirati student I have been indoctrinating as a Sunderland fan began: “WE WON!!!”

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