Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

One Sorry Season in Just 90 Minutes; MATCH ANALYSIS: Sunderland 0 Swansea City 2

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

One Sorry Season in Just 90 Minutes; MATCH ANALYSIS: Sunderland 0 Swansea City 2

Article excerpt


IF you had missed the rest of Sunderland's season, the final home game was a 90-minute microcosm of the entire campaign.

It started with a genuinely touching moment, as Bradley Lowery was carried on to the field by Jermain Defoe for the final time and the youngster was given a tremendous reception by the Sunderland fans who have taken him to their hearts.

For all their faults, and there have been many, Sunderland have given the five-year-old a season to remember.

But as for the football, it will linger in the memory for all the wrong reasons.

And far from a rousing performance to bring down the curtain on a decade of Premier League football on Wearside, this was a stinker.

On the field, there were soft goals conceded, missed chances, injuries, and pathetic performances everywhere you looked. Even Jordan Pickford and Defoe, the only players to have emerged from this relegation season with any credit whatsoever, were not immune - Pickford made a rare mistake for the opening goal, while Defoe's last outing on Wearside as a Sunderland player was a non-event. In the stands, a large number of fans voted with their feet with large expanses of empty seats giving lie to the official attendance of more than 38,700.

For those who did turn out, any flicker of goodwill that the previous weekend's win at Hull City might have sparked had evaporated inside 10 minutes.

As soon as Fernando Llorente had headed Swansea City in front, frustration came to the fore with boss David Moyes the focal point.

As the game wore on, the anger steadily grew and, with owner Ellis Short watching grimfaced in the stand, a significant proportion of supporters sporadically vented their feelings by chanting "We want Moyesey out".

And when Kyle Naughton ghosted in behind sub Wahbi Khazri to double Swansea's lead in first-half injury time, it was game over for Sunderland and the atmosphere further deteriorated.

Sunderland's cause was not helped by two first-half injuries, with first Jason Denayer and then Victor Anichebe limping out of the action.

Defoe saw a chance saved by keeper Lukasz Fabianski, and in the second half as Swansea sat back and protected their lead, Billy Jones missed the best chance of the match when he sidefooted wide from six yards.

But with Sunderland's fate already sealed, the details of this match were really only a postscript - and the same goes for their midweek trip to Arsenal and the final day game at champions Chelsea.

Far more important is what the future holds for Sunderland in the Championship.

Moyes may have lost the confidence of many fans, but said recently that he retains the backing of Short and chief executive Martin Bain, and intends to continue. …

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