This was so typical of the poorer parts of the season: easy surrender of possession, sloppy defending and a failure to build on or even protect a lead. Fortunately Sunderland also broke the April duck with two well-taken goals by Nicklas Bendtner and James McClean to make sure we at least were not defeated.
But a 2-2 draw at home to Bolton Wanderers, with plenty to play for if we seriously want to match or better last season’s 10th finish, is short of acceptable even allowing for the opposition having a great deal more at stake. And Martin O’Neill knows it. Only the alertness of Craig Gordon, on his welcome if shop-windowish return from long-term injury, prevented us throwing away three rather than two points in stoppage time.
Here 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.
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 …
April 28 2012 SAFC (1) 2 Bolton Wanderers (1) 2 Fair result: both sides could have won
April 21 2012 Aston Villa (0) 0 SAFC (0) 0 Chances spurned but a much better performance
April 14 2012 SAFC (0) 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 0 Minimum excitement, maximum frustration: a dreary afternoon
April 9 2012 Everton (0) 4 SAFC (0) 0 There’s poor, really poor and there’s this
April 7 2012 SAFC (0) 0 Tottenham Hotspur (0) 0 More than matched a Champions League side
March 31 2012 Manchester City (1) 3 SAFC (2) 3 How frustrating when we deserved three points
March 27 2012 FA CUP 6th round replay: SAFC (0) 0 Everton (1) 2 Everton simply better. Hope they win it.
March 24 2012 SAFC (1) 3 Queens Park Rangers (0) 1 Played very well and won with ease
March 20 2012 Blackburn Rovers (0) 2 SAFC (0) 0 Very disappointing. We looked tired and uninterested
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