This was a collective off-day by the Sunderland team, in a match that West Bromwich Albion were clearly up for. To be honest, I would rather forget the day and not write about it, so please do not look for any enthusiasm in this coverage. That is not taking anything away from the home team, who did the simple things well, and scored at crucial times in this game, and as I predicted in my preview the on-form Odemwingie was a constant threat.
The Black Cats lined up as follows: 22 Mignolet, 02 Bardsley, 04 Turner, 11 Richardson (Bendtner - 46'), 16 O'Shea, 06 Cattermole, 07 Larsson (Bridge - 59'), 08 Gardner, 14 Colback, (Campbell - 46'), 23 McClean, 28 Sessegnon – a decent enough team on paper.
The home team featured 01 Foster, 03 Olsson, 06 Ridgewell, 23 McAuley, 07 Morrison, 08 Andrews, 12 Reid, 14 Thomas (Dorrans - 64'), 21 Mulumbu (Shorey - 77'), 24 Odemwingie (Long - 81'), 32 Fortune.
So the question at the start was, could the Black Cats keep up the momentum from the Arsenal game, but on this day the team started slowly and were caught out by Odemwingie’s header in just the 3rd minute. The diagonal ball in from the right was poorly defended by Turner and Richardson, or whoever was meant to be marking the Nigerian.
We just did not compete in the first half and could not get going, with Sessegnon having a poor game for once, and it was no more than the Baggies deserved when Morrison scored with an angled header just before half-time.
The Sunderland team had been set up for containment, but all that changed in the second half, when Bendtner returned along with Campbell. The Lads made a better fist of it, and at least threatened, but Odemwingie showed his finishing instincts by scoring again just after the break, with low shot into the middle of the goal. Cattermole went close, firing over on 55, and then we finally tested the keeper on 60th when Gardner hit the target.
Campbell had a goal mistakenly ruled out for offside when he completed his pre-England run-out by firing in of the bar late on, just to show it was not Sunderland’s day, and to rub it in Keith Andrews drove home with an accurate shot into the top corner in the last minute.
Two league setbacks on the trot, then – let’s hope this is blip in what has been a promising run. We will surely show greater heart and determination in this weekend’s game north of the Tyne.
©Lars J.S. Knutsen
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