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Soccer - FA Barclaycard Premiership - Everton v Sunderland

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On This Day (18th January 2003): McBride double sinks Sunderland at Goodison!

Brian McBride’s second half double sank Howard Wilkinson’s men after we initially took the lead.

Photo by John Walton/EMPICS via Getty Images

It's 2003 and it’s a Sunderland match under the management of Howard Wilkinson.

There can only be one outcome - and you’ve guessed it - we lost.

Having not won in the last six games, these were merely only the early days of a winless run that would continue on until the end of the season.

The appointment of Howard Wilkinson was an outright disaster and under his stewardship, a team that was struggling under Peter Reid turned into a hopeless one under Wilkinson.

On the back of no victories since our surprising win over Liverpool in December 2002 at the Stadium of Light, the team went to a buoyant Everton who were celebrating the retention of their teenage sensation Wayne Rooney, who just signed a new contract.

Typically, Everton battered us early doors with future Sunderland defender Alan Stubbs missing two easy headers to put the home side ahead. From almost identical positions, Stubbs put the opportunities off target from close range.

Howard Wilkinson Sunderland manager looks to the floor

The chances kept coming as Thomas Sorensen made a great save from USA striker Brian McBride before Steve Watson also missed a header with his hitting the crossbar.

Even against a Sunderland team as weak as we were, you cannot miss these many opportunities without getting punished - and that is what Kevin Kilbane did on the 34th minute after he was put through superbly by Kevin Phillips.

This goal gave the away side great confidence. We almost doubled our lead both just before and just after half time break through Phillips.

Phillips almost doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time, but his 18-yard effort was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Richard Wright.

Sunderland’s confidence was lifted and Phillips was denied again by Wright in the early stages of the second half, the England goalkeeper making amends for dropping a corner by saving brilliantly.

And in similar fashion to Everton earlier in the game, we weren’t going to get away with missing such good opportunities with McBride hitting us with a double between the 51st and 56th minutes.

McBride’s equaliser was a truly awful one to concede when his scuffed overhead kick seemed to confuse everyone inside the Sunderland box before nestling past Sorensen in the net before he finished well five minutes later to give the Toffees the lead.

And he was on the mark again when he rifled into the bottom corner from Radzinski’s pass.

In response, Wilkinson - who sat in the stands beside chairman Bob Murray for the first half - introduced Michael Proctor and Julio Arca in an attempt to get an equaliser. Alas, it wasn’t to be as the team could only offer ‘hard work’ but no real scoring threat.

After the game, Wilkinson rued our missed opportunities when we went a goal up.

“There were two moments in the game when we could have settled it.

“We were ahead and Kevin Phillips went very close on two occasions.

“Anything from them and it would have been a different story.

“We weathered their early spell and I felt at times we controlled the game. If we are to improve we must control the ball better.”

In his comments after the game, Brian McBride called the game a “a lot of fun”.

Not for us Brian, not for us.

Brian McBride of Everton scores his second goal
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