They say good things come in threes. Like all Sunderland fans, especially those who are inevitably there, home or away, Pete Sixsmith has suffered for his loyalty. There have been times when this loyalty has been tested to the limit, when even he wonders why he puts himself through the agonies of following the team. And then along comes a day like yesterday and suddenly all the pain and frustration, all the hours of weeping and wailing make it all worthwhile. Make no mistake, there is no room for complacency but in the performance of the boys in yellow and blue, at a ground where interest rates are plummeting, Pete can revel in another victory which maintained the upwards mobility of recent weeks by putting on a display of dominating football.
THERE’S GOING TO BE HELL.
Very soon after Adam Johnson slipped in the second goal in front of 2,900 delirious Sunderland fans, the song reverberating around the Wongadome as we rejoiced referred to the shenanigans of last year;
“There’s gonna be hell, There’s gonna be hell,
Lock up your horses, There’s gonna be hell!”
And didn’t we just enjoy it, every minute of the ninety and even the three that were added on at the end, because what we did was to totally outplay and demolish the poorest Newcastle side I have seen in many years.
Player for player, on this performance a North Eastern select side would be Mannone; Bardsley, O’Shea, Brown, Alonso; Johnson, Ki, Bridcutt, Colback, Borini; Altidore. Not one of their players would get anywhere near the team; they were truly dreadful and were beaten by a far superior Sunderland side. And didn’t we love it. The frustrating thing is that we are places away from the bottom three, but only two points. However, continue to play with the poise and the balance that we showed here and we have every chance of being well away from the brown stuff before Easter.
This was a far better performance than last season as we exerted complete control over the first half and stopped Newcastle from getting back into the game in the second. Last year they may have had a case for having a goal disallowed. The only case they have this year is the one that Pontius Pardew may well need when he clears his desk after his sacking. The team was wonderfully set up with every player knowing what his role was and every player looking comfortable on the ball. To pick out an outstanding performer is unfair; this was a team performance from start to finish and there was not a weakness to be seen. From Mannone to Borini, from goalkeeper to striker, from front to back, Sunderland were totally dominant. Three goals, all well taken and all the result of superb play.
The first one came after a brilliant ball from Johnson caught out Santon which allowed Bardsley into the box where a clumsy and needless challenge by Anita brought him down. Newcastle fans must have been hoping for an Old Trafford penalty, but Fabio Borini slotted it home with consummate ease.
Five minutes later we doubled the lead when Altidore played Colback in and his shot was parried by Krul after it ricocheted off the much loved Steven Taylor. The ball bounced free and Johnson put it into the net. Cue celebrations upstairs and a lusty rendition of the horse song.
The third goal came with ten minutes left when they were pushing forward looking for scraps. Colback won the ball in midfield, played it to Borini and took an excellent return pass before scoring with a powerful shot.
The cheering from the Sunderland fans was almost drowned by the clatter of upturned seats as thousands of Mags left the stadium – apart from the two who ran on to the pitch and confronted Pardew and Colback; fine examples of the Geordie Nation.
The whole ninety minutes was an absolute blast and it would be unfair to single individuals out. The team spirit and the way that the players play for each other and the club is all important. Compare that with our opponents today, most of who appeared not to give a rats about their employers or their fans. But I will single out a few who I think are deserving of extra praise.
First of all, Wes Brown who made the tackle of the season on Ameobi Major. It looked a simple block, but it was much more than that. It showed how effectively Brown read the game and also showed how hard he is. Ameobi Major, a big man, went down as if he was a jockey being tackled by a rhino and at that moment I knew that Newcastle were beaten. They seemed to lose the will to go anywhere near Brown.
Secondly, Ki Sung-Yeung, who was quite imperious in midfield, picking the ball up, using it brilliantly, hardly ever losing it or giving it away. He was aided by Colback and Bridcutt, who made an assured debut and on this showing he will prove to be a real asset to the club. He looks a leader on the pitch and after thirty minutes or so, he was telling established Premier League players where to go and what to do. A great midfield trio and stellar compared with the plodding Tiote, the ineffectual Anita and the near invisible Ameobi Minor.
Thirdly, Jozy Altidore, who reached his nemesis against Kidderminster, turned in a decent performance against Stoke and then produced by far his best performance of the season against Williamson and Taylor, who he dominated for the whole game. He controlled the ball, laid it off well (the flick to Colback for the second and the pass to the same player for the third were brilliant) and should have been rewarded with the clincher when he was set free by Colback. He showed too much of it to Krul and the chance went, but it took little away from a performance that would have had Vic Halom purring with delight.
Every man was a hero and was prepared to do whatever they could to win the ball and take the game to Newcastle. Gus Poyet will be very, very proud of them and they should be very, very proud to play for a Coach who knows how to play football. Even Pontius Pardew had the grace (not a word usually associated with him) to accept that we were the better side and that we deserved to win. That his “team” were so poor, so bereft of ideas and so one dimensional should take nothing away from a win that allowed us to leave SJP with smiles as broad as the Tyne and hearts singing as loudly as Jimmy Nail. It was a tremendous effort and a glorious afternoon and gives us real hope that we can avoid the drop.
It seemed quiet after the game, with the usual crowd outside The Black Bull subdued and mostly of Primary School age. As we passed along Denton Road, one local even smiled at the bus. Even the most one eyed Black and White would accept that Sunderland were the better side and by a considerable distance.
Five derbies unbeaten now and three wins in a row mean that bragging rights are firmly ours. No longer can Newcastle fans fall back on the disaster in October 2010 or convince themselves that Manchester United are their natural rivals.
Ha’way the Lads!!!!!!!!
No horses were injured in the writing of this piece.
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