Four defeats on the bounce now, and yet another defeat at Everton. Was it to be expected? Well yes with our record there, and the way things went I could have written this before the match even kicked off. I assure, you I didn’t though...
Good news and bad news for Sunderland before the match even kicked off. Mignolet got the nod ahead of Craig Gordon in goal. The Scot apparently with a bit of an injury, but seemingly fit enough to warm the bench. More bad news for SAFC was Nedum Onuoha picking up an injury in training, and not being involved, Anton Ferdinand his replacement at right-back.
A boost however was the fact Tim Cahill couldn’t start due to injury, but the way things went, he was barely required as Everton scored a routine win.
Five minutes gone, and SAFC opened a scrappy game with a decent chance, however Kieran Richardson could only shoot well, well wide after beating the offside trap.
This miss became even bigger when two minutes later, Everton took the lead through Jermaine Beckford. Ferdinand with a weak headed clearance straight to Leon Osman, who’s killer ball fed Beckford, who tucked it beyond Mignolet in the Sunderland goal, via Titus Bramble. I can’t see it going down as an own goal, it was all but over the line before Bramble got a touch.
Everton one up, but to be honest neither team were at the races. The game was scrappy as hell, and neither team could get hold of the ball for more than five seconds, or indeed keep it on the ground.
It took until the half hour before anything else of note happened. That note being Stephane Sessegnon smashing a shot off the underside of the bar and bouncing clear. A positive sign that Sunderland were still in this fi...
...ght. Nope, sorry, my mistake. Jermain Beckford gets his second all too easily as we approach the 40th minute. Anton Ferdinand beaten in the air, and the ball falling to Mikel Arteta around twenty yards out. John Mensah had a lovely view of the Spanish midfielder doing 800 step-overs before allowing him to casually head to the byline and feeding Beckford to tap home from yards out. Game, pretty much over.
As the half-time whistle drew nearer, Kieran Richardson smashed a ball into the back of the net, however he was miles off side, no appeal whatsoever, but it was nice to see the ball in the back of Tim Howards net for once.
The lads trundled off back to the dressing room, and not one of them could say they’d put in a decent shift.
The second half begun with a tactical re-jig by Brucey. Richardson moving to the left wing, and Sessegnon going up front with Gyan, not that it made a great deal of impact, as Everton continued where they left off, Mignolet saving well from Osman & Coleman, as well as Beckford flashing one over the bar.
An hour in Brucey decided to go for it. Anton Ferdinand, having a shocker replaced by young Ryan Noble. Excellent to see youth given a chance, and watching him became the highlight of a thoroughly dire 2nd half from SAFC.
The youngster did well to force a corner off Distin, and later even forced Howard into a save which is more than can be said for the rest of the team, as well as showing some decen t link-up play with Asamoah Gyan.
Stephane Sessegnon tried a multitude of efforts ranging from wildly spectacular and wayward overhead kick, to 40 yard daisy cutter with all the power of a pass-back.
Leon Osman nearly had the final word in the game, having beaten Bardsley all ends up, rounding Mignolet only for Ahmed Elmohamady to be on the line and block.
Tremendous effort from the Egyptian, but it was all too little too late, as SAFC slip to a fourth defeat, and 8th in the league.
22 Mignolet – 6/10 – Both goals I felt he could have done a bit better, some good saves though.
02 Bardsley – 6/10 – Full of effort as per usual, but beaten far too often.
03 Richardson – 6/10 – Didn’t see much of him this game, not one of his better days.
05 Mensah – 5/10 – He’s not gonna win the contract he desires on this sort of form.
10 Henderson – 6/10 – Disappointingly anonymous for large parts, managed to turn it around later.
11 Muntari – 5/10 – Awful control, dog chasing a balloon springs to mind. No surprise he came off.
19 Bramble – 5/10 – Looked the bad Bramble, sluggish, uninspiring as captain. Poor game.
27 Elmohamady – 5/10 – Terrible first half, offered little going forward, played better at RB.
28 Sessegnon – 6/10 – Tricks and flicks, but they never got him anywhere.
29 Ferdinand – 5/10 – At fault for a goal, just looked completely out of his depth at RB.
33 Gyan – 5/10 – Never got any change out of Everton. Poor service didn’t help.
08 Malbranque – 5/10 – Can’t remember him touching the ball really.
31 Noble – 6/10 – Encouraging on a tough day. Arguably the standout player for us, which says it all.
So that’s four defeats in a row, if you hadn’t booked your summer holidays for fear you’d need it for European away days next season it’s now very much safe to go ahead and book.
I don’t want to be too doom and gloom, but it’s difficult to take after not just a defeat, but an abject performance, where we didn’t even go down fighting.
Arsenal, City & Liverpool on the horizon... and no doubt WBA will be in top form by the time we play them knowing our luck.
Fingers crossed we can get muster a couple of draws or something to get confidence back. I’m not counting any chickens though.
Keep the faith, it’s all we can do at the minute.