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Sunderland AFC v bournemouth (h)...
LINES FROM LONDON: EXILES BLOG

So, if we fail to match Hull’s result today, we’re down. Bournemouth gave Boro a good hiding and then Boro beat us so the prospects of a win this afternoon are looking less than bright. After relegation is confirmed we might as well give some of the young players like Asoro a go as surely they can’t be any worse than a number who’ve regularly started Premier League games. There are four players who are doubtful through injury for today’s game so we might see a young face in there this afternoon. In the Boro game Catts’ bendy shot that almost went for a throw-in and Januzaj’s free-kick that was yards short exemplified the lack of basic skills in our side. Of course we still have pride to play for and we can at least try to finish above Boro and get a win or two in the process. I applied for my tickets for the Arsenal and Chelsea matches yesterday and no doubt the latter game could be a big fancy dress farewell to the Premier League in the manner of the Man City match a relegation or two ago. It would be nice to see a goal this afternoon and we have actually beaten Bournemouth this season so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility but probably that’s asking too much. Match prediction: 0-2.

When the team news came through, there were four changes with Love, Pienaar, Kone and Borini starting in place of the injured Catts, Jones, Denayer and Gibson. At least we had some young players on the bench with Honeyman, Gooch and Embleton and I looked forward to seeing one of them come on.

I got a good stream online and there were large numbers of empty seats to be seen in the SoL. The first thing that happened was that the kick-off had to be taken again. If we could take the season again we might be getting somewhere. We conceded three corners in two minutes which didn’t bode well at all. We were playing 4-4-2 and I was grateful for that at any rate but as usual we wasted a free-kick in a good spot, near their right corner-flag. We had a promising move down the left in the ninth minute but when the ball came into the box, Borini missed his kick. He did much better just afterwards when he hit a great shot on target but Boruc in goal saved it. Bournemouth started to really control possession and a lot of the time Pienaar and Ndong were getting swamped in midfield. Khazri set up a good chance for Defoe but he put his shot over the bar and then we were saved by the woodwork when a tricky lob by King rebounded to safety. I’d say the stadium was only half-full if that. Just before the half-hour mark we had a short period of pressure around their box which culminated in a Ndong lob landing perfectly for Defoe to score from close range but he hit it straight at Boruc. It certainly didn’t look like it was going to end goalless as both sides were regularly creating chances. Love had looked shaky in the early stages but he saved our bacon five minutes before the break when he booted the ball off the line with Pickford beaten. We put a good deal of pressure on during stoppage-time and I could see us getting a goal in the second-half. There was a decent ripple of applause as the half-time whistle went. Southampton v Hull was goalless too.

There were no changes as we kicked off again but Pienaar was booked within a minute. That’s six yellows and a red in seventeen games apparently. Five minutes in Defoe fed Borini and his shot was hard and on target but again Boruc denied him. We won our first corner of the game but as ever failed to capitalize on it when Kone headed over. Pienaar was replaced by Honeyman and next thing Afobe pulled a hamstring and was subbed by Stanislas. Honeyman looked good from the off and I wish we’d seen more of him but he’s out of contract very soon. As the hour-mark passed Hull were still drawing 0-0. We had a great move in the sixty-seventh minute when Defoe broke and Borini fed Honeyman who smashed a shot goalwards but Boruc saved again. There was a huge melee of players after Borini fouled Cook  which resulted in a yellow for both Fab and Arter. It put a bit more zip into the match which had been going flat and our fans perked up. Within thirty seconds both sides had penalty shouts when King and then Khazri went down but the ref wasn’t having any of it. With five minutes on the clock both matches were 0-0 and we were having a go all right. Two minutes later, though, it was all over when Bournemouth broke quickly down their right and Fraser’s cross found King unmarked right in front of goal and he put them ahead.

Moyes was straight down the tunnel as the whistle went and boos echoed around the stadium. The cameramen went through the usual orgy of focusing on solitary slumped guys, the crying child, the whole nine yards.

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