Here Pete Sixsmith captures the glory and shame, hope and despair, excitement and ennui of the Sunderland matchday experience. When, rarely, Pete is absent or delayed, a supersub does it for him and the seven-word verdict is preceded by an asterisk. Pete’s full analysis of the game will usually appear within a day or two.
And a 1-1 draw at Goodison kept our FA Cup hopes firmly alive with every reason to look forward to beating Everton at the second attempt.
The first half was fairly even, Phil Bardsley’s piledriver giving Tim Howard no chance and Sunderland the lead and then Tim Cahill grabbing his customary goal against us. Someone at the BBC live footie site said: “Lacking any real quality but it’s hard to take your eyes off the match. Enjoying it.” A typical blood-and-thunder cup clash, in other words, or FA Cup football as it should be played, according to our own Jeremy Robson.
Second half saw Everton passing more convincingly and pressing more but Sunderland defended strongly to earn a second chance – when Sessegnon and Cattermole will be available again – to book a trip to Wembley for the semis.
Other commitments mean there will be a delay in posting Martin O’Neill’s Musings from Goodison unless one of the magical Dawson duo of deputy editors – Joan or Malcolm – manages to beat Monsieur Salut to it (and sorry but they probably have until the morning to do so).
The full Sixer’s Sevens archive – see link below – sums up what all Sunderland supporters feel, from darkest gloom to sublime elation, in the words of one who is usually there …
March 17 2012 FA Cup 46h round: Everton (1) 1 SAFC (1) 1 Started well, on top but pushed back
March 10 2012 SAFC (0) 1 Liverpool (0) 0 Better by far than an average Liverpool
March 4 2012 Newcastle United (0) 1 SAFC (1) 1Players gave everything and deserved to win
Feb 25 2012 West Bromwich Albion (2) 4 SAFC (0) 0 Baggies better by far as bubble bursts
Feb 18 2012 FA CUP 5th round: SAFC (1) 2 Arsenal (0) A wonderfully gritty performance brings deserved victory
Feb 11 2012 SAFC (0) 1 Arsenal (0) 2 Played well but undone by goalkeeping errors
To see Sixer’s Sevens in full, click here. If an asterisk precedes the comment, the words that follow are the work of someone else because Pete is for once absent from the game or his verdict has been delayed …