Sunderland 0 Southampton 4

Updated: February 12, 2017

It was that time of year again where me and Step Mother decide to make the annual pilgrimage North East from Essex to the Stadium of Light, Sunderland for what is a very long day after a 6am start and 1am ish finish!!!!

Why do we do this? Well my wonderful father and my step mum’s devoted husband for nine years passed away to cancer in 2008 and he was a Black Cat for over forty years, so around his February 8th birthday we attend the closest home game to this date and go up to support them in his honour.

This year saw them host Southampton who were on a poor run of six defeats from seven so weren’t arriving into the North East with too much confidence whilst the Black Cats remarkable 4-0 success at Crystal Palace last weekend brought genuine optimism amongst home fans that another positive result, which could of taken them out of the drop zone if other results went there way, could be achieved here.

And the first twenty minutes certainly gave the impression that the Saints looked nervous and lacking in confidence as the hosts really looked up for it and were much sharper and pressed every ball and had their opponents on the back foot, although they didn’t test keeper Fraser Forster for who was getting booed everytime he touched the ball due to his Newcastle United connections.

Sadly after these opening twenty minutes Sunderlands desire and tempo started to wain for some reason and the visitors began to have more possession and suddenly looked a threat going forward. It was therefore no surprise when the Saints took the lead on the half hour mark.

Ryan Bertrand sent a teasing cross towards the near post where Manolo Gabbiadini, no relation to ex-Sunderland legend Marco Gabbiadini, managed to convert beyond keeper Vito Mannone‘s hand and into the near corner of the goal. It later turned out that it did in fact come off Lamine Kone’s head and onto the forearm of the striker so the visiting forward was a touch lucky, but from then on it was all Southampton.

The League Cup finalists were in full stride now duly added a killer second in first half stoppage time, and what a goal it was, as a brilliant one touch passing move ended with that man Gabbiadini turning his marker before slotting under Mannone and into the net and end the half in style for the Saints. The hosts had it all to do second half that was for sure.

Half Time Sunderland 0 Southampton 2

If the Black Cats could just get one goal back maybe they could just rescue something from this one. Sadly that never really looked likely and in fact Southampton looked more likely to add to their tally. Second half substitute Shane Long, who had caused Sunderland problems in the past, and Gabbiadini headed good chances wide as they looked to seal the points.

The Black Cats huffed and puffed at times during the second half but even when they did get into a decent attacking position lacked that guile and craft to cause the visitors any problems. In fact the only shot on target came from a weak long range effort from Didier Ndong, who looked the most likely to do anything, and the main man up front Jermaine Defoe didn’t have one attempt on goal at all.

And the visitors therefore had a fairly comfortable day at the back in general because of that as they were heading for only a second win in seven. In the 88th minute they did find a third goal too as a ball in towards Long saw defender Jason Denayer try and get to the cross ahead of the Saints striker but inadvertently poked the ball beyond Mannone for an own goal and cue a mass exodus of the near 40,000 crowd inside the stadium.

It had been a painful watch for us home fans and to rub salt into what was now a gaping wound, the visitors had time to see who else than Long to slot home a fourth and make it an utterly miserable day for the bottom side. Those two clean sheets against Palace and Spurs plus the four points gained from those games seemed forgotten as the full time whistle was greeted by a chorus of boos from anyone who had bothered to stay till the end.

Fortunately results went the home sides way so are still in striking distance of fourth bottom although they can afford no more performances of this nature. For Southampton it was a welcome result after a difficult period and they have a Cup Final to look forward to at the end of the month. It certainly made the journey home for me and step mother rather long after this result though!!!

Full Time Sunderland 0 Southampton 4

Here are some photos from the day:-

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