From The Durham Times: Boring Swansea Game Not Helped By Booing

Stu Forster

Each week we provide our views to The Durham Times newspaper. If you enjoy the local press and the good work they do then get a copy for just 50p each and every Friday. Oh, that's also why this is slightly out of date, but avoid that by buying the damn thing! Here's our latest...

Whilst I agreed wholeheartedly with Martin O'Neill's post-match email, highlighting his disappointment in the performance against Swansea midweek, my own reaction was a cold splash of water to try and rouse myself from the boredom which had set in having endured such a dull ninety minutes. I bet Sky were delighted to have carted their gear all the way to the North East for that pulsating encounter and I'm positive it didn't make for much better viewing in HD either.

Sunderland struggled to counter Swansea's slick passing game for large portions of the game but whilst Laudrup's side were certainly easy on the eye they failed to create any really clear cut chances. I suppose this is what lead to the frustration from the home fans that whilst forcing the visitors into half chances we were unable to exert ourselves on the game in the few periods of possession that we did enjoy. The side simply seemed to have no idea how to break Swansea down and what they were able to muster was predictable and pedestrian.

Half time couldn't have come quick enough for all involved, especially the gaffer who clearly read the riot act to his meek side. Whatever O'Neill said worked, well, for about twenty minutes anyway. The premise was as simple as it was effective. Give the ball to Sessegnon. Simply everything we did well on Tuesday night came via the Benin-wizard. In truth however Sunderland never truly looked like breaking the deadlock during this spell and the game petered out again into a flat, lifeless excuse for a football match.

That was until the inevitable arrival of Danny Graham. It was fantastic to see the Sunderland fans put aside any animosity towards a potential, much needed, new signing and give the forward a decent reception as he entered the fray... Well, maybe not. Graham was greeted by a cacophony of boos from the stands as the more vocal in the debate surrounding his potential transfer made their voices heard loud and clear. Quite what impact the home fans' reaction have had on the behind-the-scenes transfer dealings will have transpired by the time this column has gone to print with the transfer window, as is customary, slamming shut on Thursday night.

Swansea came closest to taking all three points in the final moments of the game; Lamah, Dyer and Graham conspired to blow some fantastic chances to earn victory, with the pantomime villain Graham finding his goal-bound effort denied by a superb intervention from Titus Bramble.

With a point garnered rather than achieved the only redeeming feature to come from the game was the clean sheet, oh and the portly Swansea physio who brought some much needed comic relief to proceedings with her rather unique waddle/jog onto the field of play. Swansea physio, whoever you are, we salute you.

With transfer deadline day looming O'Neill will be desperate to push whatever deals he has ongoing over the line to add some much needed impetus to his side who were given something of a reality check on Tuesday night following a mini-revival of sorts in the league. At the time of writing the Danny Graham deal seems to be the only one in the pipeline with regards to a much needed forward. Whether Tuesday night will have any influence on his decision remains to be seen.

Elsewhere rumours surrounding Aiden McGeady begin to gather pace and more validity yet the deal seems to be someway off fruition. Hopefully, for all our sakes, O'Neill will, as he has gathered a reputation for over the years, have been able to do some late, great deals and we can really look to kick on from here.

DAVID BOYLE

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