This is where Pete Sixsmith captures the glory and shame, hope and despair, excitement and ennui of the Sunderland matchday experience. When, rarely, Pete is absent or delayed, a supersub does it for him and the seven-word verdict is preceded by an asterisk. Pete’s full analysis of the game will usually appear within a day or two.
It ended in a draw as Newcastle forced a late equaliser after heroic resistance from Sunderland’s 10 men.
The game? No classic but plenty of controversy.
Before Pardew or his oafish defender Mike Williamson complain about Sunderland’s penalty award, they could usefully look up a piece that appeared here after the Liverpool v Brighton cup game: Bad El-Abd: Brighton defender makes a victim of Liverpool’s Andy Carroll. Salut! Sunderland roundly condemned the Albion defender Adam El-Abd for his constant wrestling of the former Toon favourite Andy Carroll without a hint of interest from Andre Marriner, the referee. So Mike Dean deserves full credit for awarding a penalty when Williamson tried to tear off Michael Turner’s shirt.
More of the same refs – whoever commits such fouls, so far often unpunished.
And Bendtner tucked away the penalty. One-nil was about right at half time. SAFC were by far the better side for 35 mintes. NUFC started and ended strongly but, Cattermole’s idiotic early challenge apart, Chris Waddle was right: we played the football, they’d come for a fight. How odd, then that a real footballer, Sessegnon, should see red, rightly, for a slight backward flap at the chest of Tiote, whose despicable face-clutching play-acting should have brought him a yellow.
Pardew’s behaviour when Newcastle, after a lot of falling over, won a penalty (no complaints here), was also a disgrace. Punishment enough: Mignolet’s save. Could we continue to hold on?
No. The dominance and possession Newcastle enjoyed in the second half, and the arrival of Ameobi, probably made an equaliser inevitable. It came, desperately, heartbreakingly late, but at least we clung on for a draw. An achievement marred by Cattermole, who is meant to be the captain and lead by example, somehow talked himself into a straight red (to add to his earlier yellow) after the final whistle. Villainy exists in red and white, too.
The full Sixer’s Sevens archive – see link below – sums up what all Sunderland supporters feel, from darkest gloom to sublime elation, in the words of one who is usually there …
March 4 2012 Newcastle United (0) 1 SAFC (1) 1Players gave everything and deserved to win
Feb 25 2012 West Bromwich Albion (2) 4 SAFC (0) 0 Baggies better by far as bubble bursts
Feb 18 2012 FA CUP 5th round: SAFC (1) 2 Arsenal (0) A wonderfully gritty performance brings deserved victory
Feb 11 2012 SAFC (0) 1 Arsenal (0) 2 Played well but undone by goalkeeping errors
Feb 8 2012 FA Cup 4th round replay: Middlesbrough (0) 1 SAFC (1) 2 Quality came through in rousing cup tie
Feb 4 2012 Stoke City (0) 0 SAFC (0) 1 *McClean clincher makes winter seem less bleak or (Sixer’s delayed verdict) bêtes noires beaten in Artic type conditions
To see Sixer’s Sevens in full, click here. If an asterisk precedes the comment, the words that follow are the work of someone else because Pete is for once absent from the game or his verdict has been delayed …