Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Stadium of Delight

Sunderland 4 stoke 0

What appeared on the face of it to be a potentially nervy afternoon quickly turned into a home town party as Sunderland ran out comfortable winners against an out of sorts Stoke side obviously worse for wear from their long trip back from eastern europe in midweek.

An early goal from Titus Bramble, quickly followed by a solid Jonathan Woodgate header past his own keeper (bless, never trust a mag) meant Sunderland had a two goal cushion with the game barely ten minutes old. A deflected Craig Gardner effort made it 3 - 0 on the half hour mark, and by half time, the lads were home and dry.

The expected Stoke charge failed to materialise and the icing was placed atop the mackem cake with a gorgeous Seb Larsson free kick on the hour making it four nil to the Sunderland. Stoke launched plenty of Delap bombs towards the home goal which were all met by home heads, and we saw the game out comfortably to leave us snug in mid table, and looking very much forward again rather than back after a challenging week. Sunderland old boys reminded us exactly why they are old boys, with Whithead launching a screamer towards the South East corner, and Kenwyn reminding us exactly err, why he's Kenwyn and why he was sold.

Our whole XI played as a tidy unit, probably no coincidence considering that both O'Shea and Brown played the full 90 minutes in tidy fashion. Catts was rested, and David Vaughan ran the midfield picking pass after pass (89% success rate) to give some much needed creativity. Elmo looked much improved, and Mignolet dealt admirably with everything the Potters could throw at him.

Steve Bruce, unhappy about the "mass hysteria" of the last few weeks left the post match press interviews to Eric Black and will take plenty of positives into the Norwich game in eight days time. The Gyan saga must now be put to bed to concentrate on very winnable games ahead. Around 32,000 watched today's win at the SoL, which is probably about 30,000 more than watched Al Ain's opening Pro-Cup match defeat this week. Sadly for the locals their new striker didn't play as he was back "resolving a couple of issues" in the UK.

Your starter for ten panel . . .
Geography: In what county is Stoke?
I'll have to hurry you . . . .

Stormer - David Vaughan brought a new dimension to our midfield (8)
Stinker - Plymouth Argyle, who sacked Peter Reid who had sold his FA Cup medal to pay their electric bill (3)

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