It all began so well with a comfortable win over QPR that dumped them in the relegation zone and, with Everton winning 2-0 at Swansea, pushed us back up to eighth top. Unfortunately, Everton had the taste for victory more powerfully rooted in their mouths and proceeded to repeat the scoreline at the Stadium of Light.
Gone were our hopes of Wembley at least once and maybe, just maybe lifting the FA Cup for the first time since 1973 and only the second time in history, this year being the 75th anniversary of the winning it against PNE.
Martin O’Neill was disappointed with our second-best display, but expressed determination that he would savour great nights – as this one should have been – at the SoL.
And Pete Sixsmith examined in detail what had gone wrong.
From start to finish, they were so much better than us and all the weaknesses that MON has managed to paper over in four tremendous months in charge were exposed for the world and his wife or civil partner to see.
Straight away, the Toffees took the initiative and had us on the back foot. Fellaini was quite imperious in the first half, running the game and swatting off irritants like Cattermole, Gardner and Sessegnon with almost casual disdain.
So where do we go from there?
Unfortunately straight to the Etihad stadium where Man City have won every EPL game this season and are fully expected by our City “Who are You?” volunteer, Rick Haswell-Cohen, living in the North East and married to a Mackem, to romp home 3-0.
Anything out of this game would cheer us all up infinitely; anything worse than Rick’s forecast would make tonight quite miserable. It was a cricket score last season; please let us show how we have improved since then …
Rick’s interview is here – https://safc.blog/2012/03/manchester-city-v-safc-who-are-you-mancini-mackems-and-mary-poppins/ – but let me just say how grateful I was to him for digging us out of a hole.
He had originally said, promptly enough to be helpful, that he was simply too busy. A colleague from the NE Blues’ branch kindly stepped in but was sidetracked by pressing family matters. Rick’s unsolicited response was to offer to answer the questions after all.
Q: Any nostalgia for the City of old even if they didn’t often win 6-1 at Old Trafford?
A: I bumped into Mick McCarthy a few years ago at Newcastle Airport. He was flying down with squad shortly after they achieved promotion. He was delighted that one of his rare goals was in my top three of all time – a bullet header in the Manchester Derby. He was still bitter though 20 years on that Chris Turner pulled off a fine save to deny him a second.
This week, the Wearside Lib Dems began following Salut! Sunderland on Twitter.
They should tell their party president, Tim Farron, about Rick’s lesson in courtesy. Readers may recall that the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale is a Blackburn Rovers fan who was far too grand even to reply to a request channelled through a highly embarrassed press officer to do the Rovers Q&A two week ago.
Anything overlooked? Well go to the home page by clicking here and you’ll see we revived memories of the tanner-a-bag peanut seller, brought news of Jake’s newborn, Xuana, followed Sixer to Whitby to watch Darren Handclap’s side take on FC United of Manchester and offered a prize for guessing today’s score.
Please let it be respectable. Better still, let it break Citeh’s 100 per cent home record. Ha’way the Lads …