Jump to content

Catch the Breeze - Sunderland away report


blandy
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Moderator

After an unfortunate break (for me, if not you) the away match report returns, with news from Sunderland.

Welcome back. Having had to miss a few games after falling off my bike recently, I was looking forwards to the trip across and up to Sunderland.

The drive up was as enjoyable as ever - the scenery in Cumbria in particular is staggeringly beautiful, and the light this bright morning made the place seem like a Kingdom all of its own as I journeyed up the M6. Across the lumpy bit in the middle and then onto the A1(M) and onto Sunderland to meet up with Drat Chris and Kate, as well as another Chris, by happy chance, in a rather excellent boozer.

A few scoops later and it was off to the ground. We found our turnstile by following the noise from those already inside and settled down to watch, for the first half an hour, Sunderland thoroughly control the game. They scored early on, a header from a free kick given when Curtis felled Kenwyne Jones. The finish by the Mackem was Laursen like. Danny Collins the announcer said, and the Sunderland fans sang.

With Curtis looking unsettled by Jones, Gabby isolated and Ashley not really getting into the game, Sunderland perhaps might have scored again on a couple of occasions - one well saved by Friedel, and another hit wide, without Villa doing much in reply, at all.

Us travelling Villans were the quietest we've been for a long time, at this point - there was just nothing to get behind, really, and anger at the sub-par performance decided not to break out - we're still in dream-land.

Eventually though, the efforts of Stan, GB and James Milner seemed to drag the rest up by their boots and for the last 10 or so minutes of the first half we started getting right on top, though again we didn't create much. Luke Young was booked early on, and will I think have to miss a game now.

A chat with Yordi and another with Drat at half time had us agreeing that we'd not played well at all. I felt Siddy just wasn't contributing, and half of the rest of the team were sporadic and lacking drive, really.

The second half was different, Villa picked it up a bit, there was more drive and purpose, though Sunderland continued to push towards our goal. Chances were scarce though, until a break down the right by Ashley, a cross low into the middle and the target of the Mackems ire - James Milner - scored the least spectacular diving header I've ever seen - just sliding on the ground to get his head on the ball and put it into the empty net. He was though "attended to" by a defender. He deserved the goal, and a spot of class had evened things up.

We started posing much more of a threat now we'd got our game together, and several more rapid attacks had Sunderland worried.

At this point, in centre midfield, Ashley dived into a tackle with a Sunderland player. No doubt telly later will reveal the extent of his crime. but the ref was clear - straight red. It looked one of those tackles where stretching for the ball he maybe launched himself "recklessly". There looked to be no malice or ill-intent, but it was careless.

In the long term I think the sending off will be a good thing, though he'll have to miss games, obviously. He'll get a rest, one he probably needs. He'll also hopefully learn that sometimes enthusiasm needs to be tempered with a bit of sense, and finally, maybe there's a risk of over-confidence with him, which a ban might put a lid on.

Gabby was booked for protesting at his mate's dismissal. Sidwell was removed and Craig Gardner brought on. Whether this was tactical, or because Siddy was not able to play as he'd have wanted, I don't know.

20 minutes left to hold on for a point.

To be honest the lack of a man didn't show, as the rest of the team just seemed to "magic" the missing one of their number from somewhere.

Sunderland had a great chance from a Jones header, but it was straight at Brad, and despite the raised atmosphere from both sets of fans, nothing looked like happening, until a long ball down the centre was chased by Gabby, he was sandwiched and fouled by 2 Sunderland defenders right on the edge of the box. It seemed a tad harsh to me, but the ref gave a pen, and after a delay, GB belted it into the net.

Villa saw out the last 10 minutes and a surprisingly low number (3) of minutes of stoppage time without too many panics.

At the end, MO'N and the players were clearly chuffed with yet another away win, as they came towards us and received their merited acclaim. If not for a high quality performance, for one of immense resolution and strong will.

Whatever people say, it's not luck. Gary player had it right - "the harder I work, the luckier I get". And there's talent there too, together with nouse.

The drive back was diabolical - the weather over the A66 was atrocious, wind and a howling gale, but back home safe and warm, it was a good day out.

Some marks

Brad - proper solid - 7. Reassurance is the word.

NRC - He's doing better at right back than I'd have thought possible. 6.5

Curtis - Troubled by Kenwyne Jones, 5. Missed Martin Laursen alongside him to win those headers. Got better as the game progressed.

Carlos Cuellar - Played very well, defensively. 7

Luke Young - Another out of position, but doing it for the team. 6

Ashley Young (he started on the right) - Made a goal, got himself sent off. Can't keep out of the news. 5

Stan - 7. More good play from Stan. Consistent, and didn't go missing as a few did early on

GB - 8. Excellent from the skipper. Joint MoTM

James Milner - 8 Also excellent. Really shoved the jeers from the Sunderland fans back in their faces with a tremendous performance, and not a hint of a reaction to several hefty fouls. Well done Sir. Joint MoTM.

Gabby - Needed more help, but did his job effectively 6.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice report, as always.

We did have some luck, though. Milner's goal wasn't a header, but handball. See MON's comment about "...or whatever part of his body he got on it". And in the same move, they lost a central defender, so a 15-second spell which really improved our position and made theirs worse.

And for our second goal, the foul started outside the box, so the free kick should have been outside the box. Too bad for them - if you're going to foul in that position, that's the chance you take. But a piece of luck for us all the same.

Not that I'm complaining.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Just goes to show, Peter - I thought that JM was almost pushed into the position he was in, when he put the ball in, but I didn't see a handball at all.

Gabby - yes it was outside the area when the 2 defenders converged on him, but it looked inside by the time they'd finished bundling him. I was surprised a pen was given because you don't often see them given for 2 players squishing another, though it is illegal, and one of them also had his foot very high. But I haven't seen any TV - there's no big screens in the SoL, and I know our eyes can play tricks. Also my angle from behind the goal obviously is different from a camera at the side of the pitch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice report, as always.

We did have some luck, though. Milner's goal wasn't a header, but handball. See MON's comment about "...or whatever part of his body he got on it". And in the same move, they lost a central defender, so a 15-second spell which really improved our position and made theirs worse.

Milner was fouled Peter, blatant trip from behind. ref has to give the goal or send Chimbonda off

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice report, as always.

We did have some luck, though. Milner's goal wasn't a header, but handball. See MON's comment about "...or whatever part of his body he got on it". And in the same move, they lost a central defender, so a 15-second spell which really improved our position and made theirs worse.

Milner was fouled Peter, blatant trip from behind. ref has to give the goal or send Chimbonda off

exactly. Millie was tripped, but managed to get his head/arm to the ball, and get it in. Hed he now, as Shearer said, the defender would have hasd to have been sent off, and we'd have got a penalty. So if anyhting, that benefitted sunderland, if you expect us to score from the pen and then play versus 10 men for the rest of the game.

as for our penalty, could have been a free kick or a pen. It was broderline. But again,as shearer said, the more serious offence of dragging gabby down was inside the area, the high boot being just outside.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

exactly. Millie was tripped, but managed to get his head/arm to the ball, and get it in. Hed he now, as Shearer said, the defender would have hasd to have been sent off, and we'd have got a penalty. So if anyhting, that benefitted sunderland, if you expect us to score from the pen and then play versus 10 men for the rest of the game.

Generally I think the ref is always going to give the goal under those circumstances, because I think they take the view that if possible the cheating player shouldn't get what he wants - in this case, chimbonda trips Milner in the knowledge it will be a pen and a red card (denying a clear goal and giving his keeper a chance to save the pen) but unluckily for him he has sent Milner sprawling into the ball which has flown into the net. So natural justice says you let the goal stand and ignore the cheat, same as if he'd tried but failed to punch it off the line.

I'm not sure about the pen, was a close one. but ultimately again it was a deliberate foul to deny a goal scoring chance, so again natural justice prevailed I think. In the last 30 minutes, even against ten men, Sunderland couldnt live with us and just resorted to trying to kick their way to the points, and paid the penalty in the end.

I dont know where the guys find their energy, but I think an investigation should be launched into that smear you always see on their shirts .... ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...
Â