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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Sunderland 0 - Blackburn 0

Stadium of Light

Boxing Day

Attendance: 44000

No Knockout blow for Rovers on Boxing Day

With both teams coming of comprehensive victories, both managers decided to stick with the same team. Roque Santa Cruz was out due to a niggling calf injury, leaving Benni Mc and Jason Roberts to lead the frontline once again.

With the Stadium of Light packed to the rafters, it was Sunderland who got of to the better start. With Andy Reid calling the shots on the left flank, Sunderland looked a threat. If Djibril Cisse could stay onside, Sunderland could have been a couple of goals up early on.

The first real chance came from a Reid through ball. Cisse Pounced, however Paul Robinson dashed of his line, parrying Cisse as he tried to round the keeper. Solid defending by Ryan Nelsen prevented another Cisse assault, whilst Nelsen was again at the helm, making a delightful tackle on Kenwyn Jones.

Rovers had little ball in the first half, with the only real threat coming from Benni McCarthy, who almost managed to head in of a Gamst cross. A dull first half, with the score at 0-0.

The second half started with a bang, with Rovers almost taking the lead immediately. A David Dunn free kick was whipped in of the left flank. With the keeper misjudging it, the ball looked goal bound. However, Chris Samba decided to assist it, sticking his hand up and getting the slightest of deflections. Rovers celebrated, but Referee Chris Foy new better, and handed out a Yellow Card to Samba. After several replays, it was obvious the ball was going in anyway, silly decision by Samba.

Rovers pushed on and looked most likely to score. Marin Fulop was twice called into action, darting of his line to prevent Benni Mc getting a shot away and a great save moments later after some delightful play between Roberts, Benni and Andrews. Andrews made a sharp run into box, however his shot only found the legs of Fulop.

Rovers continued to threat. A Morten Gamst free kick was saved by Fulop, whos faintest touch pushed the ball onto the post. Sunderland looked stunned, with their best chance coming from a Cisse volley, which was blasted over the bar.

Trajedy struck for Rovers. Dunn started limping, straining his hamstring, putting him out for another 3 weeks. Tugay came on to replace Dunn. Rovers started to fatgiue late on, with Cisse pouncing on every opportunity. However, superb defending from Nelsen prevented any shot on goal. Benni made way for Derbyshire, and late on, Nelsen Picked up an eye injury, bringing the Axe on.

THe best chance of the game fell to Rovers in the last minute of regulation. A clearance from Rovers put Jason Roberts through, whose first touch sent Fulop the wrong way. With an open goal in sight, Roberts struck the ball, and trickled wide of the near post. Allardyce was celebrating, then stood on shock. In post match reports, there were claims the ball bobbled up, causing the miscue. The Sasman is not convinced, Roberts should of buried it, once again proving that he cant even score in a Brothel......

If anyone said before the game that we would get a 0-0 draw, we would of taken it, but i bet the travelling supporters would of been disapointed in not stealing the 3 points.

Sunderland 0 Blackburn 0

Star Player

Ryan Nelsen- Blackburn were laughed at for their poor defending, but Ryan has stepped up and led by example. SOlid tackling, positioning and marking

Player Ratings

Paul Robinson 7

Couple of good saves, good distribution of the ball

Ryan Nelsen 9

Great game from the Captain. Led by example, shut down every attack, hopefully his eye injury is not bad

Chris Samba 6

Let the team down with the handball. Was no real need for it, the ball was going in anyway....

Andre Oijer 7

Solid defending from the Dutchman. Was lucky to still be on the field, fortunately Chris Foy missed the second offence

Steven Warnock 6.5

Not convincing. Was found out a few times by Cisse, is his mind on a January move????

Keith Andrews 7.5

Good game from the Irishman. Really should of scored, but his passing and positiong was good. Improving every game

David Dunn 8

Pulled the strings for Rovers, should of had a goal from the free kick.... Hopefully he will be back sooner rather then later, poor bugger

Morten Gamst 6.5

Flashes of brilliance, great free kick, but never really tracked back. Not working well with Warnock at the moment

Brett Emerton 6.5

Not one of Emo's best game. Delivery was poor, defended well though

Benni McCarthy 9

Not often a striker gets a high rating without scoring, but Benni Mc is playing with his heart on his sleeve, chased down everything, set up Andrews, if he continues his form, we definately will stay up

Jason Roberts Effort 8 Finishing.....

What can i Say. DOnt get me wrong, I like the guy, he works harder then almost anyone in the premier league. BUT HE CANT FINISH!!!!!! Anyone could of scored that. Sure, people might say, hey, someone else couldnt of set up that opportunity. I couldnt care less!!!! An open goal is an open goal, the ball needs to go in, 92nd minute. We need the win....

Tugay 6.5

Legs look like there not keeping up. We all love the Maestro, but not sure how much longer he can last


No real impact


No Real impact

Manager Rating

Allardyce has got the defence working as a unit. THeir positioning is great, however Warnock is slacking of a bit. Dunn will be a big loss. It will be interesting to see how Allardyce replaced him. Sasman predicts Emerton to drop into the middle of the pitch, with Carlos Villanueva to be given the opportunity on the right flank. Yes he is left footed, but i dont want the Axe and Andrews in the midfield together.

Roque Santa Cruz/ Steven Warnock

Injury for Roque? Its not looking too good lads, i think we might be wrapping him up in cotton wool. Not sure how much interest Real Madrid have, but it does make sense, he is not Cup tied so can play in the Champions League.

As for Warnock, he really is in another world at the moment, needs to lift his game, or leave....

Manchester City

Wow, did they put a display against Hull or what. Hopefully it was a one of performance, and our boys fire up at Ewood. Get the crowd out there, a full house for Sparky's return would be awesome....

Sas apologises

Sorry if i seem harsh on Roberts. As i said, i like the guy, but he misses way too many opportunities. I say if Roque goes, we go all out. Sign Bellamy, sign Ryan Taylor, and possibly a left back if Warnock leaves. Grella should be fit mid January, so hopefully he comes out and doesnt let me down!!!!!! Not heard much on the Reid front, but with Dunny out for a few weeks, we are lookin thin in the middle again. Might be the time for Villanueva to impress.

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The Journalist

Writer: Sasman! Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday December 27 2008

Time: 1:12AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I'm feeling lonely on this site lol the game finished 4 am local time and honestly I couldn't sleep. Dissapointed we didn't take all three points, but can't be greedy I guess
Report Abuse
27/12/2008 01:36:00

Didnt see the game unfortunately, but from the reports it seems as though Big Sam is getting something right. Thank God for that!! Nil Nil isnt a bad result really, lets hoope we stuff City now. Would top things off nicely. On another note, is it true that we are not gona take the option to sign Carlos?
Report Abuse
27/12/2008 02:15:00

like sas said, nelson is rock solid again. warnock is a little shaky, but he's quality, hard to replace. hope he won't leave. however, i feel gamst does a good job tracking back. it's stevie who didn't give him enough support. but yea, great game by benni mac, worked real hard, trying to make things happen. hope the this 2 points drop won't cost us at the end. the man city match will be immense.
Report Abuse
27/12/2008 04:55:00

I'd have easily taken a 0-0 draw before the match, but we SHOULD'VE won!!! We do need to remember though that Sunderland have really been on form recently.
Report Abuse
27/12/2008 08:33:00

4 points from 6, much better nthan things have been, leys hope for 3 against city to end year on a high
Report Abuse
27/12/2008 11:27:00

I think in hindsight I would of taken a point from the game BEFORE but having been and witnessed we were by far the better team in my eyes. Sunderland have been on form however. The clean sheet is what impresses me most becuase if there is one thing that willg et us out of trouble it is a hard to beat streak!!!
Mikey D
Report Abuse
27/12/2008 11:28:00

Great report Sastinator by the way!
Mikey D
Report Abuse
27/12/2008 12:06:00


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