Another away game, another display lacking in guile and (in the first half) even commitment. For the first time, one or two fans are beginning to mutter that phrase: relegation dogfight. That may be an exaggeration; surely all the promise from good performances at home and heroics at Old Trafford cannot have evaporated. Yet Sunderland at Fulham – maintaining the standard of Sunderland at Stoke, Burnley, Birmingham and Wigan – were about as attractive as the back end of the Don Wood’s bus from Murton that I was stuck behind in the west London traffic jam after the match …
Expect a roasting for Sunderland when Pete Sixsmith delivers his Soapbox sermon later today.
The first half was an insult to the marvellous travelling support. The second half, for all our bluster, lacked serious quality in any of the areas of the pitch where it mattered. We never looked like scoring from the half chances that came our way and ended the game pegged in our own half without the least promise of an undeserved equaliser.
Steve Bruce’s e-mail has duly arrived, acknowledging that it took us 45 minutes to get started – a severe indictment of his team’s professionalism and awareness, as it happens – but offering a kinder verdict on the second half than many of us would deliver.
” We couldn’t have done any more in the second half where we needed a break as we were chasing the game.”
Bruce also thought there was nothing in the game from start to finish, by which I assume he means it could have gone either way. I’d say we were fortunate to be only one down at half time. Fulham fans leaving Craven Cottage certainly felt they should have won by more.
Of course, we’d be a bit less dispirited if Darren Bent’s volley had gone in or Kenwyne had slid that woeful back pass under the body of Schwarzer. But even a snatched point would have flattered us.
Several players yesterday looked inadequate to the task. The defending was sloppy, the midfield lacked class, the quality of dead balls was atrocious and the finishing looked uninspired.
And bear in mind this list that arrived in an e-mail on the Blackcats list before kickoff:
All former or on-loan Sunderland players who did manage to score over the weekend.