Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Demolition Job on Sorry Black Cats

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Demolition Job on Sorry Black Cats

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Decrepit, crumbling and no longer up to the demands of the Premiership.

Maine Road will be dismantled this summer - and a similar fate drew nearer for the Sunderland squad after Wearside's hopes of salvaging some pride from a calamitous campaign were reduced to rubble yesterday.

Another dramatic collapse condemned the Black Cats to their 12th straight league defeat and left the club almost certain to finish rock-bottom of the top-flight table.

Newcastle will head to the Stadium of Light on Saturday keen to increase Sunderland's suffering.

The prospect of contesting a North-East derby this weekend must fill Mick McCarthy with absolute dread, given his side's pathetic return of just one point this year.

Two goals from Marc Vivien Foe and one from Robbie Fowler secured a comfortable victory for Manchester City to make McCarthy's return to Maine Road an unhappy one.

With Arsenal and Aston Villa to face after the visit of the Magpies, it is hard to see the Wearsiders adding to their miserable tally between now and May 13.

The Black Cats were never at the races yesterday as they lost 3-0 to Kevin Keegan's side for the second time this season.

For a manager assessing which players he wants to keep for the Wearside promotion challenge, there were few positives to take into the summer.

As expected, Gavin McCann was unable to take his place in the squad, having suffered a hip injury during Saturday's 2-1 defeat by West Bromwich Albion.

But Kevin Phillips and Darren Williams both passed fitness tests at Maine Road as McCarthy took charge of the Black Cats for the sixth time.

Julio Arca replaced McCann in a three-man midfield, while Northern Ireland international George McCartney was drafted into the centre of the defence to replace Talal El Karkouri.

McCarthy, still pointless since replacing Howard Wilkinson last month, was desperate to stop the club's unprecedented run of defeats against his former club in a bid to boost Sunderland's fragile confidence ahead of Saturday's Wear-Tyne derby meeting with Sir Bobby Robson's Magpies.

But the Black Cats, scorers of just 21 league goals all season, were typically toothless in an opening period which offered little in the way of entertainment.

Phillips had an early penalty appeal turned down when he tumbled under a rash challenge from David Sommeil, while Kevin Kyle would have hoped to have done better with a header which was directed weakly at Peter Schmeichel.

City soaked up what little the Black Cats had to throw at them with ease.

And although Keegan's side initially threatened little, the home side always had something in reserve against opponents who cannot wait for this most miserable of seasons to end. Shaun Wright-Phillips almost caught out Mart Poom with a low drive which the keeper failed to hold. …

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