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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 18 Dec 10 at 14:43 PM

Report: Sunderland 1 Wanderers 0

Wanderers suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Sunderland thanks to Danny Welbeck's first half goal in a fast and frantic game at the Stadium of Light.

The Whites could consider themselves unlucky not to have taken at least a point from the game, after a superb save from Craig Gordon on the stroke of half time to deny Zat Knight from point blank range.

But ultimately Wanderers search for a goal in the second period proved fruitless, as the home side threw bodies in front of a number of late efforts and held on for three points.

Knight & Cahill

Manager Owen Coyle made two changes to the starting line-up that successfully took three points from Blackburn Rovers last weekend. Goalscoring substitute Fabrice Muamba filled the void left by the suspended Mark Davies, whilst Matt Taylor made a return to the team in place of Chung-Yong Lee who dropped to the bench.

The game started at a frantic tempo, and it wasn't long before Coyle, who had opted to wear shorts despite the bitter winter chill, was out on the edge of his technical area encouraging his team forward.

And that was exactly what his side did in the opening ten minutes. Martin Petrov, starting out on the right flank, fizzed a shot from 30 yards into the midriff of Craig Gordon in the Sunderland goal, before Taylor escaped the attentions of Nedum Onuoah down the left to set up skipper Kevin Davies who was denied by a last ditch block.

Sunderland also threatened in what was a vociferous atmosphere at the Stadium of Light. Asamoah Gyan, a £13million summer signing from Rennes, shot wide despite an offside flag, whilst Gary Cahill superbly denied Welbeck with a last ditch tackle after a scampering run from Kieran Richardson.

But Wanderers, wearing their royal blue away strip, more than matched the Black Cats who were yet to lose on home soil.

Johan Elmander glanced a head narrowly over the crossbar after a fine ball into the box from Kevin Davies.

But the hosts carved out a real chance on the half hour mark after a fine piece of ingenuity from Gyan. The Ghanaian latched onto his own header before racing away only to see his effort cannon off Cahill and into Jussi Jaaskelainen's sprawling body.

But that only proved to be a temporary restbite for Wanderers, as Steve Bruce's men took the lead through on-loan Manchester United striker Welbeck.

Jordan Henderson floated a ball into the back post, and Cahill was seemingly barged over Darren Bent controlled and fired goalwards but was thwarted by Jaaskelainen before Welbeck headed in the rebounds despite the best efforts Cahill on the line.
Tempers suddenly began to flair as Cahill was booked for a seemingly good challenge on Bent and Cattermole received a yellow card for a foul on Stuart Holden.

Just minutes before the interval Wanderers were denied an equaliser by a top drawer save from Gordon. Cahill headed the ball back across goal from a corner and Zat Knight stabbed the ball goalwards from six yards out before the Scotland international thrust out a hand to divert his effort over the crossbar.

After the break the game continued in a similar fashion, with Wanderers enjoying large spells of pressure in the Sunderland half, but failing to muster any real attempts of goal of note.

Elmander's shot on the turn from the angle of the area that went straight down Gordon's throat was the closest the Whites came in the opening ten minutes of the second period.

With just over an hour on the clock Coyle shuffled his pack, introducing Ivan Klasnic in place of Petrov.

As Wanderers pressed forward Sunderland began to look a little shaky at the back. Elmander had shifted out to the right flank and probed the Sunderland defence in search of an equaliser.

Meanwhile, the Black Cats asked questions of their own and were a lick of paint away from doubling their lead when Welbeck saw an effort clip the outside of the post after the home fans had been left furious following a penalty appeal that had been waved away.

Elmander came close to latching onto a clever give-and-go with Holden but was denied by a late tackle from Anton Ferdinand and a late appeal for a penalty for an apparent handball was rejected by the referee.

Coyle again rolled the dice with a double substitution as Rodrigo and Tamir Cohen entered the fray with minutes remaining.

But Wanderers' numbers just wouldn't come up, as the home side stalled for time as Coyle's men pinned them inside their own half.

Paul Robinson, Elmander and Klasnic all saw effort blocked in the dying embers of the game, as Sunderland held on for the three points.

Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Mensah (Elmohamady 22), Onuoha, Richardson, Henderson, Cattermole, Welbeck, Gyan (Zenden 74), Bent (Unused substitutes: Mignolet, Angeleri, Malbranque, Da Silva, Riveros)

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Taylor (Rodrigo 83), Holden, Muamba (Cohen 83), Petrov (Klasnic 63), Elmander, K Davies(Unused substitutes: Bogdan, Steinsson, Chung-Yong, Blake)

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