OK, I admit it...I got my prediction of the score wrong, I suggested 2-1 to Sunderland and in the end it was 3-1. Overall, though, this was an encouraging performance from the Lads, who got back on track after caving in anaemically at Ewood Park, showing real dominance and good concentration going forward in this game. QPR contributed to their own downfall but our goals were good, and we played with conviction and no little skill.
There were changes from the Blackburn game, and we lined up with 22 Mignolet, 03 Bridge (Meyler - 70'), 04 Turner, 16 O'Shea (Campbell - 27'), 25 Kyrgiakos, 08 Gardner, 14 Colback, 15 Vaughan, 23 McClean, 28 Sessegnon, 52 Bendtner (Elmohamady - 82').
QPR featured 01 Kenny, 18 Young, 34 Taiwo, 35 Ferdinand, 42 Onuoha, 02 Diakite (Buzsaky - 52'), 04 Derry, 07 Taarabt (Wright-Phillips - 60'), 12 Mackie, 23 Cisse, 52 Zamora (Bothroyd - 82').
We started the game well, but there were some abrasive tackles flying around and Diakite was booked after 11 min for a horrible challenge on Colback. It did not stop the local lad having a decent left-footed shot on goal though just 3 min. later after a Bendtner headed flick. Colback at his best has been a pretty good replacement for Jordan Henderson this season - I love his commitment.
Bobby Zamora had a shot on goal from distance on 25 min, but it drifted high and over the bar. A few minutes later he showed his frustration when challenged by Kyrgiakos, reacting theatrically as though he had been head-butted; both players were booked with Gardner intervening to keep them apart.
James McClean had been playing well, celebrating his new contract, and created the first goal, delivering a great cross from the left and Nicklas Bendtner rose between the centre-backs around the penalty spot to head into the far corner of Kenny's net. The great Dane has hit form, with his 3rd goal in 4 games.
Soon after the break Gardner showed his shooting ability with a fantastic shot from a free kick that rattled the bar, but the game turned dramatically in Sunderland’s favour when Cisse inexplicably hammered into Fraiser Campbell, on for O’Shea, with studs raised and was shown a straight red card.
Sure enough we went further ahead on 69 min., McClean pounced on a poor header and drove the ball towards goal, and when the shot was blocked, he made space for himself and guided the ball past Kenny. Soon after, he provided the incisive ball on the left for Vaughan to cross for Sessegnon to net at the far post.
O’Shea’s hamstring injury and Wayne Bridge’s substitution meant that we ended up yet again with a makeshift defence: Gardner, Kyrgiakos, Turner Colback; O’Shea must be a doubt for the Everton game on Tuesday night.
With the end of the game approaching it was Sunderland’s game to throw away, but there was little chance of that, despite a stunning free-kick strike from defender Taiwo high to Mignolet’s left. So this was our second double of the season, Stoke being the first, even though Sunderland legend Gary Bennett got that wrong in his SAFC.TV commentary.
We must believe that we can catch Liverpool, who lie just 2 points ahead of us in 7th spot – even some of the better teams can lose at home to Wigan…
©Lars J.S. Knutsen
||Post your comment