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.
Martin O’Neill was in charge of SAFC for the first time today as we took on Blackburn Rovers in what our rotten run had turned into a relegation six-pointer.
The outcome, of course, was ultimately as magical at it needed to be with tough games in London coming up next.
But MON he soon enough saw the scale of the challenge he’s accepted, a first half summed in Pete’s text from the East Stand “awful even by our usual dismal standards”, a disturbing seven-word verdict on how things then stood. One down thanks to 1) O’Shea’s weak pass playing Larsson into trouble, 2) Larsson’s poor control of the pass and subsequent lunge conceding a moderately dangerous free kick, 3) our utter inability to defend set pieces handing Rovers a goal on a plate. Then MoN suffered from his predecessor’s decision to tackle the need to score in the Premier with one on-loan striker and a couple of promising kids.
It was much, much better in the second half and James McClean’s introduction injected real hope; this is a man whose pace and skill can enable him to make a mark at the top level. Vaughan’s equaliser – NB VAUGHAN’s; whoever wrote Gardner’s will be boiled in oil – was a belter and a beauty: Larsson made up for last week’s events at Wolves with a superb free kick to win the game We needed a win today. Finally, thanks to a dramatic improvement after the break, we got one.
There may be a delay in posting Martin’s Musings.
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 one who is usually there …
Dec 11 2011 SAFC (0) 2 Blackburn Rovers (1) 1 Sheer perseverance gives MON vital winning start
Dec 4 2011 Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 2 SAFC (0) 1 More points sacrificed through weak, sloppy defending
Nov 26 2011 SAFC (1) 1 Wigan Athletic (1) 2 *Bruce’s reign surely over after this debacle. That was M Salut’s verdict, followed by these from Mr Sixsmith: “Shambolic defending spells end for Bruce now”, “He must go after another clueless performance”, “Got what we deserved after brainless display”, “Pressed the self destruct button yet again”, “Second half shocker means Bruce’s time’s up” and finally “Print them all”.
Nov 19 2011 SAFC (0) 0 Fulham (0) 0 Truly appalling game lacking pace, creativity, threat
Nov 5 2011 Manchester United (1) 1 SAFC (0) 0 Decent performance but slipshod defending cost us
Oct 29 2011 SAFC 2 (1) Aston Villa 2 (1) … Determination and effort produced a fair result
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 …