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.
So with pretty much their first kick of the game, after all of 16 minutes (though in fairness it was a sweet enough kick by Barry Robson), Boro went ahead. It was a poor first half for Sunderland, Gardner finding the net but having the strike disallowed for the wrong reason (there was no offside, as given, but he did seem to handle to ball before shooting).
What a pleasure to see Fraizer Campbell start the second half after that awful injury that seemed at one point to threaten his career. And what a greater pleasure to see him score with a superb finish from McClean’s excellent pass in a slightly fortunate breakaway move. A great moment for him, and for us. But not quite enough to inspire a winning surge; all is left to do at the Riverside.
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 …
Jan 29 2012 FA Cup 4th Round: SAFC (0) 1 Middlesbrough (1) 1 Honours even in typically scrappy cup derby
Jan 21 2012 SAFC (1) 2 Swansea City (0) 0 Quality goals and a very disciplined performance
Jan 14 2012 Chelsea (1) 1 SAFC (0) 0 * Fine performance not reflected in the score
Jan 8 2012 FA Cup 3rd round: Peterborough United 0 (0) SAFC 2 (0) No banana skin as Posh pushed over
Jan 3 2012 Wigan Athletic (0) 1 SAFC (1) 4 Merrily we roll along as Wigan destroyed
Jan 1 2012 SAFC (0) 1 Manchester City (0) 0 An absolutely incredible win. O’Neill is god
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 …