So yes, I was there at Roker Park in January 1973 when Sunderland met Notts County in the FA Cup third round, and although they went on to win the competition in legendary fashion, they did not have it all their own way even then. Steve Death played a blinder in the County goal, and the game ended level at 1-1, with Sunderland winning the replay at Meadow Lane 3-1. How we would have liked that outcome looking back on Saturday’s repeat game!
The match was a classic battle between former Old Trafford teammates, and Paul Ince won hands down. He set up his team well, they came forward with confidence and on balance deserved their win. Sunderland have a squad already depleted by injuries, so what was Steve Bruce doing playing a weakened team? There was definitely some serious underestimation of the opposition, and the club can only blame themselves. I am sure the funereal atmosphere did not help, with just 17000 fans at the SSOL, which is normally a cauldron. The only positive I can think of is that Newcastle fans could not gloat at us, after their crushing defeat at Stevenage; not a good day for the North-East.
So I am not going analyse the game; as fans we just need to put it behind us, and hope that the club management learn from it. I could see the logic of left-back Richardson’s comments, his suggestion that bringing in so many players at one time who had not played together regularly was probably a reasonable excuse, but hey, let’s move on. We want normal service to resume as soon from what has been a great season.
©Lars J.S. Knutsen
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