Sunderland AFC 0 v AFC Bournemouth 1
Relegation was finally confirmed on an afternoon at the Stadium of Light in which many stayed away to avoid the choking cloud of fate lingering over Wearside.
It was perhaps fitting that the lowest crowd of the season turned up to watch this weak-willed Sunderland side fail to earn the point which would have delayed confirmation of the drop for another week.
It was also apt that as Bournemouth's Josh King was hitting a late and final nail into the Black Cats' coffin, Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic - who Sunderland have been linked with as a replacement for Jordan Pickford - was saving a penalty to ensure next week's trip to Humberside which will be so crucial in the Tiger's survival quest is now a dead-rubber from a Wearside perspective.
Here's what the national press had to say about the day Sunderland went down.
Writing in the Guardian, Sunderland supporter and long-time reporter on all things red-and-white, Louise Taylor says she expects David Moyes to vacate the Stadium of Light hot seat at the end of the season:
Relegation to the Championship was most definitely not what the former Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad manager envisaged when he succeeded Sam Allardyce last July and explains why, on the eve of the match, Moyes revealed he was considering his future. Sunderland’s seventh manager in six years is expected to step down this summer but before finalising any decision he will meet Ellis Short, the club’s owner and Martin Bain, the chief executive.
And Taylor offers a hint at how Moyes could escape his Sunderland nightmare:
The Scot – a candidate to succeed Gordon Strachan as his country’s coach this summer – readily agreed that relegation represented a personal nadir before apologising to Sunderland fans. “It’s my worst day in football, definitely the worst day, but my thoughts are with the supporters,” he said. “I’m just sorry we weren’t able to do a better job.
As for the game, as if it matters, despite scoffs at David Moyes' comments that his side have been 'playing well' in recent weeks, Sunderland again played - well - well-ish according to John Wardle in the Independent:
The end came on a day when Sunderland produced one of their better performances and created several chances, but failed to take them and paid the price when King turned in Ryan Fraser’s cross.
The Mail - Black Cats relegated from the Premier League after Joshua King nets late winner to send David Moyes' team down
We should probably come back to Mail reporter and former Newcastle Chronicle hack Craig Hope at some point.
The former Toon journalist has been growing increasingly excited at Sunderland's demise in recent weeks.
But, for now Hope noted that the threatened cauldron of boos which some internet-based Black Cats fans had been promising was absent from the Sunderland crowd:
The Stadium of Light was half-deserted by the time Sunderland’s relegation was confirmed, and you have to wonder if many of those who had walked out will ever come back if David Moyes stays in charge.
Such was the level of apathy and disinterest that it wasn’t until after Josh King’s late winner that supporters even mustered the anger to turn on their beleaguered boss. That is what Moyes has done to this club - drained it of energy, enthusiasm, and now, finally, its Premier League status has gone too, a decade after promotion
As for the beleaguered Sunderland boss who has endured a personal season from hell and destroyed his already stagnant reputation:
He has - with some justification - repeatedly spoken of pre-existing issues at the club; debts levels of £110million tell of mis-management over a number of years. But Moyes became obsessed with those problems, blinding him to the task of making better the mess he inherited.
Does he have the appetite to remain? He used to say he did, but that changed on Friday when, for the first time, he hinted that he could quit.
Hmm, It's time to avoid putting that godawful gutter rag in here.
As thousands of Sunderland fans chose to stay away rather than turn up and watch more of the same or join in what had been threatened as a poisonous afternoon, there was an inevitable air of grim fate at the Stadium of Light:
The back end of the Black Cats' ten-year Premier League tenure was a struggle against the drop.
But, having survived – you might say by a whisker – for the past four seasons, five lives for these Cats was asking too much.
Watched by their lowest league crowd this season, Sunderland had chances and showed fight – especially in a mass 75th-minute melee sparked by Fabio Borini’s tackle from behind on Lewis Cook.
But when Josh King, whose 12 league goals in 2017 are three more than Sunderland have managed, turned in Ryan Fraser’s cross two minutes from time, cries of “We want Moyes out’’ echoed around the Stadium of Light.
Events at Southampton, where Hull keeper Eldin Jakupovic saved a penalty, then sealed Sunderland’s fate.
Incredibly, that day of the destined relegation landed in line with a quirk of the calendar:
A DECADE to the day since a Roy Keane- inspired Sunderland won promotion, David Moyes presided over their relegation.