SAFC 2 Stoke City 0: winning points outrageously

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On top but wobbly. That was the essence of the text messages from the Stadium of Light. Great to secure three points, but television replays show just how wobbly it was …

Salut! Sunderland rattles on week after week about cheating and is among the first to whinge when appalling decisions cost Sunderland points.

Arsenal fans, some of them, came here in self-righteous indignation when, week after week, we asked opposing fans in our Who Are You? feature the Eduardo Question – essentially are you ashamed when one of yours cheats? Our questionnaire before each game still includes a question on the same subject.

But we cannot have it both ways, and we don’t.

We say we want to be consistent and deplore all that is wrong in football wherever it comes from. There aren’t too many things more wrong than seeing a goalbound header saved beneath the bar by a defender’s arm, with no more than a corner resulting.

No one can say how the game would have ended if Cattermole’s handball had also been clear to Martin Atkinson or his linesman. There would have been yet another red card for him, a probable equaliser and a tough old finish for us. But that is what should have faced us the moment Cattermole stopped Kenwyne’s header.

It is not cheating in the sense that diving, feigning injury or trying to get opponents booked or dismissed is cheating. It was not exactly a Suarez impersonation. But arm stopped goal, certainly cheating Stoke City, and it ought to have brought appropriate consequences. Cattermole said he was driven by “total instinct” and had no idea whether it was head, post or arm that made the save; TV showed he used his arm at least once, maybe twice, and Steve Bruce made no bones about it.

At the Stadium of Light it didn’t bring those appropriate consequences, and football is therefore poorer.

Sorry if that sounds disloyal to Sunderland; I am thrilled that Asamoah Gyan went on to get his second goal of the game and delighted that we won three points.

We were almost certainly good overall value for the victory. And I know how often we have been on the receiving end of refereeing injustice that has cost us points. The same referee once presided over a 5-0 drubbing of a Keano SAFC at Stamford Bridge in which the first three goals were all arguably offside; I do not say we would have avoided defeat in any case on that day but we have lost many points through other bad calls by officials.

I will defer to the considered view of Pete Sixsmith when he turns his more detailed attentions to the game. But wild horses cannot drag from me complete satisfaction with the way we won.

Colin Randall

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15 thoughts on “SAFC 2 Stoke City 0: winning points outrageously”

  1. The pointy about bringing back Gordon is noted but I have to confess his ability coming off the line filled me with less confidence than Mingolet.

  2. He’s had an impressive run and is a great prospect for the future but I agree, the time is right to bring back Gordon. Psychologically that would be good too: you don’t want a £9m talent unhappy on the bench as the transfer window approaches (or at least you shouldn’t).

    That said, he won’t have happy memories of White Hart Lane thanks to the Defoe assault that left him crocked for months.

  3. Against BIrmingham Mignolet looked nervous and didn’t command the penalty area. After that game he appeared to learn the word “keeper” and to shout it loudly. He kept us in games at times and looked dominant but I agree that in his last two outings he is flapping at high balls. He has certainly not let us down but it is time to bring the £9 million man back I think.

  4. Does anyone agree that Mignolet is looking shaky with his handling after a corner or a set piece? He’s an excellent shot stopper, but every time he comes out for the ball he makes me nervous! Bring back Craig please Mr Bruce! Either that or give Catts a go.

  5. That is the Suarez defence Keith. But point taken … what you say is the reason I wrtote this:

    It is not cheating in the sense that diving, feigning injury or trying to get opponents booked or dismissed is cheating. It was not exactly a Suarez impersonation. But arm stopped goal, certainly cheating Stoke City, and it ought to have brought appropriate consequences. Cattermole said he was driven by “total instinct” and had no idea whether it was head, post or arm that made the save; TV showed he used his arm at least once, maybe twice, and Steve Bruce made no bones about it.

  6. The pity about the Cattermole handball is that it has distracted us from some good and some bad things to come out of the game against Stoke. As sorry as I feel for Stoke, the only issue I would have is how did the referee miss such an obvious infringement of the rules. From the East Stand, some 80 yards away, I could pick out the hand ball, soon confirmed by a text message from a home viewer. Why couldn`t the officials. That is a more worrying aspect. I think to apply `cheating` to the incident is a bit over the top. Certainly an offence which would have led to a sending off but surely we can`t go down the line of calling each breach of the rules cheating. Just beacause the offence may may have influenced the outcome of the game doesn`t make it any more than an offence. Handball on the halfway line. Do we get irate about that? If we get too tied up with one or two incidents in every match and try to eradicate them from our beloved game what will we have to talk about after the match in the pub or on the long journey home from an away match. After the shambles at SJP I was more than happy to witness 3 points and not care how we got there. Could go on, but just a mischievious thought – after Gyan`s performance, if SB insists on a 5 man midfield how does Bent get back in the side. Gyan brings the team into play better1

  7. Being a Stoke fan its nice to hear opposing fans comments feeling abit sorry for Stoke.Six out of eleven games decisions now have lost us probable points as nothing is sure in football. but after this run we are fourth from bottom instead of in the top ten. At the end of the season will we be feeling bitter about these decisions if we are relegated.Will officials be questioned over the decisions they have got wrong. i doubt it as they seem above the laws of football.
    ps. these comments are not just for Stoke but for most of the EPL teams seen week in week out.

  8. Martin and Bill have the luxury of being able to take that view, and it is the sort of thing I might have said in the pub after the game.
    But if this site is to have any credibility and be above the charge of hypocrisy, it cannot allow itself that luxury. Otherwise, our next complaint about a Drogba, Rooney, Gerrard, Ashley Young etc dive would sound a bit hollow.

  9. If MOTD is anything to go by, a lot of Stoke supporters must be feeling aggrieved that several teams are balancing out their own bad luck against them.

  10. I totally agree with Martin. And I say that as someone who isn’t Cattermole’s biggest fan.
    Meanwhile, let’s not overlook the law of cause-and-effect: You put Gyan on the field, Gyan scores goals, we win games. A lesson learned by all concerned, let’s hope (and no, that wasn’t meant to rhyme).

  11. I have been criticized in some quarters for my rose tinted viewpoints, but whilst I agree with Colin that if the rules were applied correctly, Lee’s hand-ball should have resulted in a penalty, and a sending off, if you look at it in real time, Lee throws himself at the ball in a genuine attempt to keep it out of the net, and although arm/hand contact was made, it didn’t look deliberate, and Lee’s defence was that he acted instinctive. After last week, considering whose head nodded it goalwards and it had gone in, our large contingent of less discerning supporters would have surely raised their game in their anti-Bruce lobbying!

    Let’s not take away from Lee’s performance today. He was top notch throughout, and looked every inch the player we know he can be.

    Does anyone believe in karma? How about the saying “what goes around comes around”. How many times have we been robbed by appalling refereeing decisions, substantially more suspicious than the one we witnessed yesterday? In my reckoning, we are due a few more dubiously fortuitous refereeing bloopers before the scales of justice are in perfect alignment. After last week, I’ll take anything!

  12. … and maybe ask themselves why Steed was allowed anywhere near a penalty. Are we really that short of people who can take them that the task fell to perhaps the one man we could be sure, for all his other qualities, would miss?

  13. Interestingly a number of ex pros have voiced the opinion on TV in the past few days that controversial decisions tend to favour the big teams. That in the wake of the Nani incident and the tolerance of Rio Ferdinand’s actions. Matt le Tissier was open about it. Both Lawrensen and Shearer seemed to acknowledge the same on tonight’s MOTD. It is something supporters of most clubs have been saying for years. Personally I can accept the decision today by applying the “evens itself out” principle. Using a cricketing analogy it is like getting a dodgy LBW decision one innings then not being out when trapped plumb in front. Doubtless there will be a fierce debate on these pages regarding the morality of that incident.

    But amongst all the other things that Bruce and his coaching staff highlight from today’s game, I hope they are asking the question why no-one was tearing into the box as Malbranque took the penalty. Following his save the Stoke keeper had time to prepare one of Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals as he strolled to collect the ball.

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