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Sunderland AFC v bournemouth (h)...
sobs' blog

That's it then. There's my tenth relegation, and I'm not even that bloody old. In a game where we created enough chances to win three games, we failed to tale any and were hit o the break late on to seal our fate.

Bournemouth, as Basil Fawlty would have said. It would have been appropriate if we hadn't long since ceased to be a comedy, having slipped into the realms of tragedy a while ago. If you read Dithering Dave's post-match comments on the Boro game - and I fully accept that many of you see the email and send it straight to "trash" if you haven't already blocked his missives - you'll be wondering, like me, how he came to the conclusion that if we play like that we'll get points. It was like playing table tennis in a gale - a waste of time. Apparently Stainy's daughter Belle laughed out loud when Moyes said during his interview this dinner-time "I've got confidence in my players." She's six.

Note to Mr Moyes - in the words of that Irish singer, You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All. Thankfully, we've only had a couple of days to be miserable about that game, on top of being in a mood anyway over the season in general and the state of our club.

Mind, it was nice of them to knock those shirts out for a tenner, and I picked mine up this morning, although I daren't put it on for fear of being given a pair of boots and told to "get out there and repeat the 20-0 victory" that sums up my 100% win record at the SoL.

But, as I'm reminded each time I leave the house on what inevitably turns out to be yet another pointless trip the match, it's only a game. I was reminded of that yesterday at Mick Dolan's funeral. After an escort provided by the Green Tree scooter club, he was carried in to Dance Of The Knights and Ready To Go, and carried out to Rod Stewart's Forever Young. Donations are going to the Bradley Lowery campaign, and the whole day just gave weight to those wise words - it's only a bloody game.

Pre-match rumours that Pienaar would be taking Gibson's place and Borini would be getting a start prompted discussions on a possible three-man attack - a real three up front, not this modern, nonsensical equivalent of one up top and two wingers. That's 4-5-1 n matter how you dress it up. Mebbe it would be nice to see us having a bit of a go - why Hell not? It's not as if we've got anything to lose that we haven't already lost in all but the world of statistics.

Passing through the carpark, the number of empty spaces was mirrored by the lack of queues at the east stand, and there were plenty of empty seats to reflect our mood.

Pickford
Love O'Shea Kone Manquillo
Pienaar Ndong Khazri
Borini Defoe Anichebe

Kicking south, and with Wabi left and Borini right, we really did play with two up top, but the first action was Love's dodgy attempt at a clearance that almost gave the visitors a chance to open the scoring. We tried to create something, and almost did when the ball dropped in the box but Borini couldn't make a clean contact (fluffed it). Still, we were trying, and in between Bournemouth aIttacks Defoe's shot was saved and we couldn't bury the loose ball. Ndong, again looking lively, played it to Defoe, who fed Wabi out wide and took the return only to scoop it over the top from the edge of the box.

We were nearly a goal down when a clever chip from an acute angle beat Pickford but came off the underside of the bar, he collected it gratefully and set up a quick break which came to nothing- the story of our season. Wabi managed a shot that went well over, then the ref missed a foul on Borini that allowed Bournemouth to force a save from Pickford.

Basically, we gave it a go, with Pienaar prompting well and put tame efforts over, wide, or at the keeper. There were two added minutes in wich we again nearly got through, but only won a corner.

0-0 at the break, which was about right despite Defoe having more chances than he's had in the last three months. Stefan Schwarz rubbed salt into our wounds by doing the half-time draw and evoking memories of a time when we had a classy midfield.

No changes for the second half, and there were moments when we looked like we might just score, and with Hull holding out at Southampton we needed to. Defoe set Borini away and he forced a decent save from their keeper, which resulted in a Bournemouth break. It was a comfy save for Pickford, and he set up Defoe, who battled well to set up Wabi in the inside left channel, but, as we all know, Wabi's only got one foot, so all we got was a corner, and that was cleared with Kone heading Wabi's return cross over the top.

Pienaar only lasted until 55 minutes, and on came Honeyman, and he got onto a great reverse ball from Borini to see his shot saved, and that was the story of the second half. Lots of half chances, no goals, and the best entertainment came when Borini tripped a Bournemouth player and the rest of their team decided they wanted a fight. There was a brave tackle in our box by Ndong, Wabi nearly caught their keeper oit with a whipped cross, another attack broke down, Bournemouth surged up the field, and scored. 87 minutes, and the previously patient crowd began the "Moyes out" chants. Three added minutes, in which we won a corner, Hull got their point, and our fate was sealed.

A blessed relief, really. Man of the Match? Are you really bothered? OK then, probably Ndong.

Faith no more

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