SAFC 1-0 Bolton Wanderers (H)

A scrappy affair for the vast majority of the game, however we’re sitting pretty in the league now.

Strange goings on in the SAFC line-up, Ferdinand shakes off his ‘month long’ injury to start, and Meyler misses out completely. In good news though, it was pleasing to see on Sky pre-match Fraizer Campbell doing some light training on the pitch with the lads.

Barring a half chance for Kevin Davies in the first 10 minutes or so, I felt we dominated the first half. The attacking trio of Bent, Gyan and Welbeck giving Bolton’s defence the run around and leading to very good chances for Gyan and Bent which went spurned. Eventually on 30 minutes or so Henderson’s cross bamboozled the Bolton centre-backs, allowing time for Bent to volley straight at Jaaskelainen, however Danny Welbeck was in the right place at the right time to send a close range diving header past the defender on the line for his 5th goal of the season.

As half time approached, Gordon continues the fine tradition of SAFC keepers making wonder saves to deny Knight in what proved to be Bolton’s only decent effort of the half. Certainly one to watch on Match Of The Day later.

A bone of contention in the first half, was the shocking refereeing from Chris Foy. Bolton seemed hell-bent on injuring someone, and after Bent was nibbled by Cahill as well as Elmander tripping Ferdinand & Onouha, Kevin Davies finally got the job done, putting Mensah out of the game. Of course Cattermole gets a yellow card for his first foul of the game.

The second half started with yet more refereeing calamities. Cattermole actually escapes a booking when he should have got one, prompting Bruce and Coyle into some quite animated discussion on the touchline.

On a more footballing note, the second half was incredibly scrappy, and most concernedly, Sunderland were a shadow of the first half performance. Bolton had pretty much all the chances, but luckily for us, they didn’t decide to get out second gear until the 75th minute and a combination of Wanderers incompetence in front of goal, and our desperate defending saw us over the line.

Depending on how full/empty your glass is, we’re joint 5th with Tottenham or 6th in the league at Christmas. Either way, it’s happy days.

Ratings:

01 Gordon – 9/10 – Didn’t flap much and generally showed safe hands. SAVE OF THE SEASON.
02 Bardsley – 7/10 – Just his usual assured performance. Slowly eliminating the need for a left-back.
05 Mensah – 5/10 – John The Rock crumbles again. Replaced early by Elmo.
29 Ferdinand – 8/10 – Showed no signs of his injury. Had Elmander in his pocket most the game.
15 Onouha – 7/10 – Solid at right-back and centre-back.
03 Richardson – 5/10 – The only attendee at the "Phil Bardsley School Of Freekick Taking" this week.
10 Henderson – 7/10 – The best of the midfielders today. Over-run slightly in 2nd half.
06 Cattermole – 7/10 – Reputation preceeds him, will be a big miss at United next week.
17 Welbeck – 9/10 – Man of the match. Superb all round performance. A constant threat.
33 Gyan – 6/10 – Nice flicks and all that, but didn’t have his shooting boots on.
11 Bent – 6/10 – Still not entirely at the races, but he’ll get there eventually.

Subs:

27 Elmohamady – 6/10 – Decent, but not spectacular.
07 Zenden – 6/10 – Stabilised midfield and unlucky with a header in the dying moments.

And finally, from the Roker Riches section, my double chance on Welbeck or Bent for first goal paid off at 11/5.

Happy days. Keep the faith everyone.

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