Putting fear into QPR: a magical moment at Loftus Road


Pete Sixsmith was travelling home so there seemed good cause for posting a few thoughts, ahead of his matchday analysis, on the five-goal thriller that maintained Martin O’Neill’s heartening start …

It was during the first half and, though I cannot precisely recall, it must have been before Bendtner’s well-taken header had put us ahead.

An utterly woeful crossfield pass from a QPR player on the right sailed far behind all his teammates and into touch.

Three Sunderland players, led by Lee Cattermole, charged towards the place where the throw-in would be taken. Intent on mounting yet another Sunderland attack, they were practically screaming for the ball; the ball didn’t come. It had landed in the crowd where a Rangers fan was refusing to return it.

To me, that was a magical moment that showed we had instilled fear into the opposition. The Rangers fan’s professional foul – hanging on to the ball until his team’s players could get back to defend in numbers – personified that dread. He was playing for time; he could even be said to have been playing for a draw.

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If that is the effect we are capable, under Martin O’Neill, of having on the people we play against, fans or players, so much the better.

Leaving aside my disagreement with ClapMack (I sensed genuine anger among the travelling support when our defensive frailties allowed a beaten side to level when we had been coasting), it was a good away performance and a great result. There was some hugely impressive flowing football for the first hour, some individually exceptional play and confident handling of the occasional, usually limited assault on our goal, Titus Bramble’s superb goal-line clearance just before our second goal reflecting the only hint of real threat.

Bendtner’s header from Kieran Richardson’s corner gave us a deserved lead and, together with his generally strong showing, must have boosted his own morale significantly. Sessegnon’s goal, after he had run half the length of the pitch following Bendtner’s clever back-header, was deftly taken.

Then the crazy 10 minutes. Instead of building on the lead, we became shaky at the back and incapable of dealing with crosses landing anywhere in or near the six-yard line. A bundled first goal after one such cross, from the left, fired up Rangers. It was then no surprise that a second should follow from a hopeful lob into the box; we looked like a team about to turn setback into catastrophe.

Our magnificent support went eerily quiet for a while. People around me – sorry, ClapMack – were not only downhearted but cross. But just as suddenly as we had forfeited control, we regained it. There was an end-to-end aspect to the last 20 minutes, but it was always Sunderland that seemed more assured, more dangerous going forward. O’Neill brought on Gardner and Colback for Larsson and Vaughan; it steadied us in midfield. Our supporters quickly resumed their earlier vocal heroics. It was as if, after two near things, they willed Wes Brown to power his winning header home.

So there you are: positivity, even if beating a moderate, newly promoted team represents Sunderland getting the job done rather than achieving anything sensational. Victory in London is always worth crowing about. We needed a win and found, as O’Neill put it, the character and performance to secure one.

Individuals? Step forward Lee Cattermole, a strong, effective, infectious and – until that silly, classically Cattermolesque late yellow – disciplined. Bendtner: an exemplary game, full of guile and threat. Richardson: ran his heart out for the cause. Bramble: generally impeccable and that goal-line header counted enormously. And Sessegnon: by far the most skilled player on the pitch and a peach of a finish for his goal. Wes Brown deserves special credit for overcoming any personal disappointment with the defending for QPR’s two goals to force home our third. Those not mentioned: no one played badly in a rousing team effort.

Swallows and spring come effortlessly to mind. But let nothing be taken from a pulsating victory.

Monsieur Salut
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10 thoughts on “Putting fear into QPR: a magical moment at Loftus Road”

  1. I’m simply loving Londoner’s post. How to raise a Christmas Eve smile in one quick moment.

    Keep up the great work mate, Salut Sunderland today, Joey Bartons toilet paper tomorrow.

    Blithering imbecile, as my dad would say.

  2. Bill Taylor wrote.

    “Yeah, p*** off, eh!”

    For once Mr Taylor you’ve got it wrong.

    Yeah, f*** off Londoner, eh!

  3. 2-0 down to a team that hasn’t won away from home since God knows when and they seem to think they should have won!

    Their first goal was clearly offside. Had Bendtner really been on his game he would have had a hat trick. I think even Thomas Hauser or John Hawley would have had a brace.

    Londoner sounds like all Londoners do, brash, arrogant and more deluded than even the Mags. Even Warnock sounded even less gracious than his consistently ungracious self.

    We may not have had many “high horse’ moments but ours are more recent than the days of Gillard, Wicks and Flanagan and Allen.

    Enjoy the PL trip while it lasts Londoner, and don’t throw out your Google Map printouts to Barnsley and Derby. From what we saw of your lot the other night you’ll be needing them sooner than you clearly think. Oh, and erh…………………….Happy Christmas!

  4. Londoner – I am confused. How can you get the third goal first? Surely you can only get the first goal first, the second goal second and the third goal third?

    Or do you mean when the score was 0-2 in which case
    you did get the third goal first. But then perhaps did you mean the fifth goal first?

    Also how come all the long words are spelt correctly (except plager and absolutely) then you resort to u urs and ye? Perhaps you can explain when the nurses loosen the straps and allow you type again.

    Merry Xmas

  5. Londoner – I watched the game real time and also thought that both of the QPR goals were offside (as stated above, suspicions confirmed by replays later) So, had both of your goals been disallowed (as they should have been) then it would have been a simple 2-0 win for Sunderland would it not?

    Also – there was a moment in the first half where Bendtner hit a shot which was going in the top corner and it was stopped by the arm of the QPR defender – could easily have been a penalty.

    We thoroughly deserved the win – I hardly remember our keeper having a save to make in the entire game – defence marshalled QPR really well and midfield looked good to – there was a 10 miuntes spell (the time including and immediately after QPR’s first goal) when things looked rocky but the subs came on and simply worked

  6. When I was watching the game (on TV) my first “realtime” reaction to each of the QPR goals was that they were offside – a fact confirmed by subsequent replays.

    So, if they had been disallowed, as they should have been, then we would not have (to quote MO’N) “had to win the game twice”.

    Londoner?

    With the repeated use of “ye” my guess is that he/she is, actually, one of our Tyneside friends who has never ventured south of the Tees and believes that everyone in the capital walks around dressed as Beefeaters and uses Shakesperean language!

    On a separate note.

    Did I espy Mr Sixsmith again, this time hatless, and in the true spirit of the season (with lights reflecting off of his cranium) providing a passable imitation of the Christmas Star?

  7. Am…is this a joke! Seriously, do u actually believe this. Every plager played a blinder on urs eyes. Did u see the game, were u even at loftus rd. My god that is the most one sided piece of garbage i have heard. You scraped by. Ye absolutley bottomed out after the first goal. We had chances to get the third goal first and wasted our chances. It was pure fluke against a weaker team, a new boy to the prem. Any other well established team would have put ye to the sword. Haha, its so funny to see teams get on such a high horse after this kind of result…enjoy the relegation battle…haha, oh my, hilarious…haha

    • Maybe, Londoner, it’s because you’re a Londoner.

      We haven’t had many high horse opportunities of late so you’ll just have to excuse us for taking this one …

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