Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Black Cats Run into a Roadblock

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Black Cats Run into a Roadblock

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Sunderland have already begun to think of a new life in the Premiership after their charge to the top of the Championship, but this was a painful reminder of the dangers of the division they hope to leave behind.

If Sunderland are one of the Championship's glamour sides with their Premiership players, history and facilities, Colchester are the unfashionable alternative, with their little known squad, decrepit stadium and lower league past.

Colchester may be the smallest club in the division, but they have never not looked out of place and this win over the Black Cats maintains their own interest in the promotion race. Indeed, Sunderland could even face another trip to Layer Road in the play-offs.

This win lifted the Essex club to within one point of the top six. And while a leap into the Premiership is surely beyond them because of their inferior goal difference, it is a fairytale season which will provide hope to all those in the Football League who dare to dream.

If Colchester can punch at this weight, why should the likes of Hartlepool, Darlington and Carlisle not also believe they can reach such a level?

On Saturday, there was little to choose between a team which had previously gone on a 17-game unbeaten run to bully their way to the top of the Championship table and a club which, 15 years ago, was celebrating promotion from the Conference.

This was easily Sunderland's worst performance of the year. They were disjointed going forward and insecure at the back where Colchester's journeymen strikeforce of Jamie Cureton and Chris Iwelumo asked constant questions of Jonny Evans and Nyron Nosworthy at centre-back.

The Black Cats' passing game never clicked and they were persistently frustrated by a Colchester side which guarantees their manager Geraint Williams nothing but total commitment for 90 minutes.

Yet we must not forget Sunderland's players have performed wonders this year and, while the performance was just as disappointing as the result, promotion remains in their own hands.

On Saturday, neither side played particularly well, although Sunderland's standards had undoubtedly slipped the most, and Colchester took the lead in first-half stoppage time when centre-back Wayne Brown was left completely unmarked to head in Kevin Watson's free kick. …

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