Writer: Michael Briggs
Date:Sunday May 9 2010
Well the season is over. All 38 games have been concluded. Chelsea are champions and returning to the Championship are Burnley, taking Hull and Portsmouth down.
Sunderland finished a decent 13th place, but again you have to think, where might the club have been if they didn`t have that mid-season slip up.
This time they travelled to the Molineux, where they would look to cement that target of 10th place Steve Bruce so desperately wants, but it didn`t turn out as well as he thought it may have succumbing to a 2-1 defeat.
Adlene Guedioura`s fine second strike sealed three points to condemn a nine-man Black Cats team.
Kenwyne Jones rebounded shot gave the visitors the lead in the eighth minute but Kevin Doyle equalised from the sport just two minutes later after Alan Hutton fouled Matt Jarvis.
Michael Turner got his marching orders after collecting a second yellow card while a young Jack Colback didn`t have the best of appearances when his crunching tackle give referee Lee Mason no choice but to show the red.
Bruce looked to go back to roots by recalling Jones to the starting line up and placing Frazier Campbell back on the right.
Wolves could have had an early lead but Sylvan Ebanks-Blake couldn`t quite control Doyle`s cross.
Campbell`s pace tortured the Wanderers and was key to the opening goal when his cross-found Jones and clipped off Craddock into Marcus Hahnemann`s far post.
But, like a lot this season, Sunderland shot themselves in the foot two minutes later when Hutton needlessly lunged at the returning Jarvis.
Doyle stepped up to take the penalty and had no hesitation with it when he rolled it to the left of a helpless Craig Gordon even though the Scot got a hand to it.
By now both clubs were going for it and the pace picked up that little bit more and it was the Black Cats who showed promise, Steed Malbranque`s stunning overhead kick hit the post.
Young player of the season, Jordan Henderson, then had a glorious chance to put the away in the lead but scuffed his shot and Jarvis had a chance denied by Gordon after neat work from Ebanks-Blake.
In contrast, the second half feel short of pace and entertainment of that in the first, Bent would be the first real test for the Wolves back four.
But there was the smell of another goal was in the air and the home fans sensed it and started to dominate.
The winner came with in the 78th minute when Zubar nipped in to intercept a sloppy pass cross-field and placed Guedioura with a superb lay off and the French born Algerian smashed his first time shot past Gordon.
Things went from bad to worse for Sunderland when Turner, who was booked earlier for a foul on Doyle, was shown his second yellow after a awful challenge on Jarvis and Colback given his marching orders on his first senior appearance for the club, one in which he will want to forgot.
No doubt manager Steve Bruce ventured his frustration but clearly he is anticipating next season.
He said, Today's performance just wasn't good enough. The supporters travelled in their thousands and they witnessed the Jekyll and Hyde part of us.
"The team who've played well at home certainly weren't the ones who played in the second half today.
"To be honest, the second half was pathetic. We were sloppy, we gave the ball away and we showed no real desire or hunger.
"We made stupid mistakes, had two players sent off and it turned into a horror show.
"I'm not happy finishing 13th. There was a great opportunity there for us and we should have had the hunger and desire to try to take it.
"When we're playing well we can mix it with the best of them but today we were nowhere near. Teams who show that kind of attitude at this level are going to come unstuck.
"There have been so many pats on the back recently but talk of a really good finish doesn't interest me. I'm distraught we've not finished in the top ten."
In a brief summery, this season has all be about progression, and it`s showed.
Steve Bruce has taken a lot of stick before, during and surely after the season, but what did Sunderland fans expect, Europe? Top four? Certainly not.
That time will no doubly come; we have a great owner, chairman and backroom staff not to mention a fantastic group of lads who are showing great signs for things to come, i.e. Darren Bent and Jordan Henderson.
Next season should be about finishing higher than we did, pushing for a top 10 place.
I believe in Steve Bruce, and so should you
Bring on the summer!
Date:Sunday May 9 2010
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