Match Report: Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur - Customary Own Goal Seals Defeat

Chris Brunskill

Sunderland slumped to their second defeat in a week after an own goal from John O'Shea and another from Paulinho were enough to overcome an early striker from Adam Johnson.

The opening ten minutes or so failed to deliver any real action of note, despite high-energy levels from both sides. In fact there was an absence of any stats in the 'shots' column throughout this period.

The visitors didn't come anywhere near to looking like breaking through, while the best Sunderland could offer in return was a strong run from Jozy Altidore which had fans on their feet, but a Spurs defender able to get a block in before it became a real danger.

Paulinho became the first person on the pitch to have a crack when he was teed up around 25-yards from goal, and while Vito Mannone flung himself into action the Brazilian's effort was always rising and sailed into the North Stand.

With fifteen minutes on the clock everyone eventual woke up, although they'd be forgiven if they actually needed the time to merely defrost, as both sides had good chances.

Firstly Phil Bardsley lofted a long ball between Kyle Walker and Michael Dawson for Steven Fletcher to run onto. A man not blessed with pace somehow came off the better but dragged a first time effort wide of goal with Hugo Lloris untroubled.

A couple of minutes later Fletcher showed some superb skill and awareness to get away from three Spurs players and lay the ball into Jozy Alitodre. The American in turn teed up Jack Colback for a strike at goal but the local lad fired high, wide and handsome.

In between these Lewis Holtby fired from outside the area, forcing Vito Mannone to be at full stretch to palm away for a corner.

Without especially dominating, Spurs managed to carve out several half chances for themselves. Aaron Lennon's clever dink over the top to Paulinho, which was well blocked by Wes Brown inside the six-yard box, the better of the chances.

Jermain Defoe tried his luck from distance on several occasions with mixed results. One well blocked by Bardsley and another trickling wide of Mannone's goal.

In reply Sunderland hadn't looked any great shakes. Each time they moved the ball forward it seemed someone, normally Steven Fletcher, would lose possession cheaply and squander a chance.

However on Sunderland's next attack things worked out much better, with Adam Johnson rocketing the home side into the lead.

Jozy Altidore, who was enjoying an encouraging performance from deep behind Fletcher, fed the ball out wide to Ondrej Celustka to fire in a fairly average, non-descript cross which was flapped at in horrendous fashion by Hugo Lloris, right into the path of Johnson rifled the ball into the top right corner.

The lead however lasted barely six minutes as the visitors drew level.

A freekick awarded against Colback allowed the ball to be crossed to the back post where Nacer Chadli headed it back into the danger area. A lurking Paulinho reacted first to tap the ball in from all of four yards out and tie things up.

Celustka tested Lloris from distance and Chadli nodded a corner over the top before Lee Mason blew for half time with the score 1-1.

Unfortunately the second half started with Sunderland scoring their customary own goal and handed the visitors the lead.

Moussa Dembele simply powered past Jack Colback like he didn't even exist and on into the area, playing across goal with hope. He got it when the ball ricochet off John O'Shea's ankles and past Mannone without a Spurs player even present.

The lead could well have been extended moments later.

Following a poor set-piece routine from Sunderland, Spurs broke at speed with Chadli and Defoe both involved before the Belgian had the simple task of teeing up an on-rushing Holtby. Thankfully, Adam Johnson had bust a gut to get back with Holtby and toe-end away vitally.

Indeed Spurs were imperious for the opening fifteen minutes of the second half and really should have been further ahead.

Lewis Holtby was causing all sorts of problems floating about between defence and midfield, trying his luck from distance on numerous occasions, all close enough to have Vito Mannone worried.

They came even closer to a third goal when Jermain Defoe hit the post with a header following Aaron Lennon's cut back from the by line. At this point the game was being played almost exclusively in the Sunderland half, and the home side really struggling to get a foothold in the game.

That chance was a close one, as was another which Defoe should have put away having beaten the offside trap and faced one-on-one with Mannone dragged it narrowly wide.

With Spurs simply toying with Sunderland at this point, enjoying all the possession and chances Gus Poyet rang the changes, bringing off an okay Adam Johnson and a pretty poor Jack Colback for Lee Cattermole and Fabio Borini.

It seemed to spark some life into Sunderland. By which I mean they began to get themselves into the Spurs half on several occasions, although failed to really create much as the game entered the final fifteen minutes.

Seb Larsson whipped in a cross which a stretching Fletcher got on the end of but couldn't direct into anything which troubled Lloris, however the Swede can rightly sit at home tonight aggrieved at not getting a penalty.

It was Larsson's corner which came in and was cleared by Sandro. Cleared however with his arm despite motioning that it was a header. It was nowhere near his head, and with his arm in an unnatural position it was a penalty all day long. Unless you're Lee Mason.

Poyet made a final throw of the dice bringing on Emanuele Giaccherini for defensively suspect Ondrej Celustka, moving Larsson to right back for the final ten minutes.

Larsson was tested immediately, and failed, when Chadli got  past him to pop a cross in to Defoe who once again struck the woodwork with a deft flick around eight-yards from goal.

From there things seemed to peter out without incident and worryingly without Sunderland creating much for themselves.

In a bit of a scramble Fabio Borini weakly shot at Lloris while Fletcher and Bardsley both contributed poor headers, neither of which tested the Frenchman, and both of which the players really ought to have done better with before Lee Mason put the home side out of their misery following five minutes of added time.

Gus Poyet can bemoan the lack of a penalty for Sandro's handball, but the truth is Sunderland simply weren't good enough, clever enough, or even strong enough to physically compete with Spurs. At times the visitors didn't seem to even get out of second gear and managed to keep Sunderland at arms length, despite a pretty even first half.

The defeat leaves Sunderland rooted to the bottom of the table, and the future looking incredibly bleak.

We'll have more match reaction in our Stream, HERE!

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