This is where Pete Sixsmith captures the glory and shame, hope and despair, excitement and ennui of the Sunderland matchday experience. When, rarely, Pete is absent or delayed, a supersub does it for him and the seven-word verdict is preceded by an asterisk. Pete’s full analysis of the game will usually appear within a day or two.

Today, our new manager Martin O’Neill sat in the directors’ box and watched as Eric Black led the team on the eve of his certain departure from SAFC. Eric knows the score and will probably find work whenever Steve Bruce does, too. Martin knows the score: he has his work cut out to turn a promising if incomplete bunch of players into a team that can build on or defend a lead. OK, the penalty was fortunate but Larsson should have converted it; instead of 2-0, it was 1-1 less than a minute later, and 1-2 soon afterwards as Fletcher returned from an offside position to blast home when set up by O’Hara (who had blatantly handled). Phil Dowd’s way of evening things out; our way, however, of defending appallingly.

The full Sixer’s Sevens archive – see link below – sums up what all Sunderland supporters feel, from darkest gloom to sublime elation, in the words one who is usually there …

Dec 4 2011 Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 2 SAFC (0) 1 More points sacrificed through weak, sloppy defending

Nov 26 2011 SAFC (1) 1 Wigan Athletic (1) 2 *Bruce’s reign surely over after this debacle. That was M Salut’s verdict, followed by these from Mr Sixsmith: “Shambolic defending spells end for Bruce now”, “He must go after another clueless performance”, “Got what we deserved after brainless display”, “Pressed the self destruct button yet again”, “Second half shocker means Bruce’s time’s up” and finally “Print them all”.

Nov 19 2011 SAFC (0) 0 Fulham (0) 0 Truly appalling game lacking pace, creativity, threat

Nov 5 2011 Manchester United (1) 1 SAFC (0) 0 Decent performance but slipshod defending cost us

Oct 29 2011 SAFC 2 (1) Aston Villa 2 (1) … Determination and effort produced a fair result

Oct 22 2011 Bolton Wanderers (0) 0 SAFC (0) 2 … Team selection vindicated in impressive second half


To see Sixer’s Sevens in full, click here. If an asterisk precedes the comment, the words that follow are the work of someone else because Pete is for once absent from the game or his verdict has been delayed …

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

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