Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Sunday December 20 2009
Sunderland twice came back from losing positions to try and grab an unlikely point but our defending all afternoon was Championship standard.
It looked like it was going to be a very long and cold day as City took a two goal advantage within 12 minutes at Eastland`s. Man of the match Craig Bellamy showed why Sunderland fans doubt Nyron Nosworthy's ability in the top flight as he cruised past him with nearly every touch of the ball. The opening goal was the first controversial moment of the game as Man City appeared to be offside for when Bellamy slid in a cross for Santa Cruz to stroke into the net. This was a bad decision but there was plenty of time for Marriner to impress with his woeful display.
Only moments later in the game when Sunderland were trying to get possession back, Bellamy beat Nosworthy and turned back to cross the ball into the area. Bellamy was stopped by Nosworthy and went to ground far too easily and Marriner bought it by pointing straight to the spot for a penalty. How Nosworthy could have stopped in his tracks and not make contact is anyone's guess, but City were awarded yet another poor decision to take the lead to two as Tevez smashed past Fulop.
It felt as though the ground was going to open up and swallow the Sunderland team but Sunderland came back a new team after that penalty went in. We showed why City have leaked many goals this season as Mensah headed in his first for the club and got the away fans hoping for more of the same.
Sunderland were ran by Cattermole and Henderson and the young Sunderland lad got his reward as he smashed in a great strike to equalise and get the game back for Sunderland. However, as Sunderland so often do, they created false hope and defended poorly again to allow City back into the game.
Bellamy was left unmarked by the fragile Sunderland defence as he passed it into the net to give City the initiative at half-time. The team talk would have been interesting in both dressing rooms, with one manager fuming over incidents in the game, and Hughes fuming that he no longer managed the club. Strange circumstances for Sparky and the way he has been treat has been nothing short of scandalous. 6th in the league, semi finals of the Carling cup and only lost two in the league is certainly not worthy of being sacked.
Sunderland came out in the second half and Kenwyne Jones scored a lovely equaliser as Henderson again skipped past their defence to cross in for Jones to nod past Shay Given.
Andre Marriner must have felt a bit lonely with Sunderland stealing all the headlines and got back to his usual poor refereeing standards by allowing two awful decisions to change the game. Firstly their winner was offside and how no-one could have seen this is the reason why fans are cheated out of their money every game. The ticket prices increase but the standards for referee's in this country are sadly on the decline.
Just to rub salt in the already gaping wounds for manager Steve Bruce, Marriner deemed Turner to have deliberately elbowed Barry. Looking back at the replays Sunderland are correct to appeal this decision as he had his eye on the ball and this was not an intentional collision. If only we could appeal for a better referee we may have left Manchester with at least a point, or maybe all three.
Hard luck for Sunderland but the truth of the matter is there for all to see. We are showing relegation form at the wrong time of the season and we badly need a win in the next game. We have the players to turn things around, and if we have not, that is why January is important to move us in the right direction for the season.
Date:Sunday December 20 2009
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