Well, we managed to remain unbeaten over the festive period. The problem is, we failed to pick up many points. Leads thrown away once again in the Premier League. 1-0 up at Everton, we get nervy, invite pressure and its 1-1. At Blackburn we go a goal ahead twice before shocking defending helps Rovers level the scores twice. To be fair, before the Blackburn match, I was expecting a rout as we had virtually a reserve team out due to injuries & suspensions. Credit to the likes of David Meyler & Daryl Murphy though, who came in and did a decent job and I feel we grabbed a bonus point in the circumstances. Sadly, 2 points from 6 in these games isnt good enough. The Barrow F.A. Cup game turned out to be a pretty easy affair. I thought Barrow approached the game well. They sat on the half way line and pushed us back in the search for that crucial early goal, leaving us with counter attacking football. Sadly for the Bluebirds, we managed to get the first goal (even Malbranque scored!) and it was plain sailing after that. Frazier Campbell deserves a mention here..a couple of fine headers, especially his second after a poor first half for him.
ANOTHER BIG ONE
As usual at SAFC, every few weeks there seems to be a game that comes along which is massive for the club. This time, its Bolton at home. With tough, tough away games at Chelsea and Everton to follow, failure to win this one will really put the pressure on and finally dump us into the bottom half of the Premier League, with only yet another relegation battle to look forward to. The continuing backlog of injuries and Michael Turners suspension increases that pressure. Added into the mix, is Bolton having a new manager, possibly Owen Coyle and the task gets even tougher. One saving grace for us, is that Bolton go to the Emirates on Wednesday night to face a confident Arsenal team. Overall though, I think this could be another tense, nervy game and will probably depend on how many of our key man we can get back in the team i.e. Jones, Reid, Cattermole.
NOT CONVINCED ON JONES SALE
Rumours on Thursday morning suggest that we may be considering inviting offers for Kenwyne Jones this month. Jones hasn’t been quite the same player in the last 18 months than previously but he is still a massive handful both as a striker and defensively at set pieces and I am not convinced selling him is the right move. We will struggle to replace him with someone of similar stature in my view. We will see what develops.
MOMENTS OF THE DECADE
I’ve had a think about my top three ‘moments of the last decade’ and i’ve come up with these:
3rd place) 2008- Kieran’s Bullet. Score stood at 1-1, very tense in the Wear Tyne derby. Free kick just outside the area. Kieran Richardson steps up and decides to blast one. The rest is history.
2nd place) 2008- Reid’s late show. West Ham at the SoL. 1-1 in a must win game for Sunderland in the relegation battle..we’re in to injury time and Daryl Murphy has just missed a sitter to win it for SAFC. Murphy is subbed and has to watch the final agonising few mins from the bench. 96th minute of injury time and the whistle about to blow. A high ball is lofted in to the West Ham box and Andy Reid takes the shot on the half volley. 2-1 SAFC, Sol goes crazy, Murphy looks relieved and safety comes ever closer.
1st place) 2001- Sportsdirect.com@St James’ Park. 2-1 to SAFC in the Tyne-Wear derby but Newcastle have a penalty at the Gallowgate end. Alan Shearer steps up and tries to slot it to the right hand side of Thomas Sorenson’s goal. Sorenson guesses correctly and saves low to his left. The away fans go delirious and so do the thousands watching on the big screen at the SoL.
That’s all for now,
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Behind Enemy Lines – Part 5