Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Ref Justice for Black Cats as Marriner Looks All at Sea; Sunderland ...............................1 Hull City ....................................3

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Ref Justice for Black Cats as Marriner Looks All at Sea; Sunderland ...............................1 Hull City ....................................3

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter Sports Writer twitter: @JHUNTERCHRON

STEVE Bruce is the Geordie Grinch who stole Christmas.

Sunderland went into the festive period on cloud nine after last weekend's Tyne-Wear derby triumph but their celebrations have been cut short. It was their former manager Bruce, now in charge at Hull City, who did the damage.

Bruce's Tigers inflicted a Boxing Day defeat which burst Sunderland's derby bubble and denied the Black Cats the chance to capitalise on the feelgood factor which that win on Tyneside had brought.

After that victory over Newcastle a home game against a Hull side which had gone 10 games without a win, and more than five hours without a goal, was a gilt-edged opportunity.

Yet - despite making a dream start when Adam Johnson put them ahead inside 30 seconds - they blew it.

Sunderland failed to press home the advantage and Gaston Ramirez, with the aid of an awkward bounce, levelled just after the half-hour.

Bruce's two-and-a-half year stint at Sunderland ended in failure and he is not exactly welcomed with open arms on Wearside these days - a situation hardly helped by the fact he has a 100% record in his four meetings with his former club since he left.

He can take comfort in the knowledge he is not the only one who has been crossed off Sunderland's Christmas card list after this latest visit.

Referee Andre Marriner's abysmal display meant t was he, rather than Bruce, who was Public Enemy Number One at the final whistle.

Marriner's refusal to award Sunderland either of two castiron penalties for clear handballs at the end of the first half left Poyet seething.

As if that was not bad enough, Marriner's blunders then played a part in the buildup to Hull's two second-half goals which eased some of the pressure by earning Bruce his first win in 11 games. …

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