Soapbox: no luck at the Lane (for Sunderland)


Fair’s fair. With the hindsight not available to most fans – or any referees – when controversial incidents actually occur, Salut! Sunderland accepts that Kevin Friend got the penalty about right. A slightly reckless challenge, but not one that merited a red card. Some SAFC fans go further and echo Spurs supporters (not all) by calling it a dive, even if they also feel it was a penalty “about to happen”. Friends again, Kevin? More on all this later but first Pete Sixsmith delivers his own considered post-match verdict …

A six hour coach journey after a scarcely deserved defeat does an awful lot to concentrate the mind. Somewhere in the middle of the old Great North Road, probably between Newark and Retford, I suffered a terrible attack of fairness, not something usually associated with disappointed Sunderland fans.

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You’ve got a Friend, Mr Gomes

It is unlikely that the excellent Carole King had a refereeing performance decades into the future in mind when she wrote the song. But Colin Randall wonders whether Heurelho Gomes enjoyed a huge slice of luck today, courtesy of the man in black, Kevin Friend, as Sunderland slumped to a barely deserved defeat …

IN the objective, sportsmanlike opinion of those in the south stand corner of White Hart Lane, it was clear that the turning point of today’s game came immediately after Heurelho Gomes charged out of goal to challenge Darren Bent, who was clean through.

He’d got away with it in the first half but Kevin Friend had no choice this time but to award a penalty. And a red card surely? No, Mr Friend deemed a yellow to be sufficient and a man who arguably should not even have been in a position to watch the kick being taken made a good save. Followed by two or three other crucial saves as Sunderland pressed for an equaliser to the first half goal.

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