02/05/2015: Sunderland 2-1 Saints

Saints went down to another disappointing away defeat at Sunderland. Ronald Koeman's side made a reasonable start to the game, but looked toothless going forward after James Ward-Prowse's dismissal.

Sunderland looked nervy at the back early on, with Saints looking to take advantage by pressing and moving the ball forward quickly. Ryan Bertrand shot wide following a good run. A few minutes later Victor Wanyama fired over the bar after the ball had fallen to him on the edge of the area.

Saints showed more flair in attack for much of the first half, but Sunderland soon regrouped and started to create chances with some functional offensive play. Danny Graham cleared the bar on 15. The Black Cats were then handed a chance to open the scoring from the spot. Jose Fonte was penalised for a high boot on Graham. Jordi Gomez took a slow run-up before planting the ball into the corner of the net. Saints were level almost instantly. Sadio Mane hooked into an unguarded net after Costel Pantilimon had spilled the ball in a collision with his own player.

The rest of the first half was fairly scrappy, with Saints looking slightly more effective in the attacking third. A good team move on 27 resulted in Graziano Pelle heading over from Bertrand's cross. Nathaniel Clyne then tried his luck from distance, but Pantilimon had it well covered. At the other end Connor Wickham side-footed just over. Shane Long found himself in acres of space on 43, but his poor pull-back went straight to Pantilimon. Sunderland came close from a goal-mouth scramble just before half-time.

Saints made a very poor start to the 2nd half. The team looked sloppy on the ball. Filip Djuricic replaced the ineffective Shane Long at half-time, but it made little difference. The Serbian's 51st minute sliced effort summed up Saints' second-half.

Two minutes later Sunderland were awarded another spot-kick. James Ward-Prowse was harshly sent off after tangling with Jermaine Defoe in the area. It probably wasn't a penalty, although you could make a slight case for it. A red card was certainly too harsh. Gomez once again waited for Davis to dive before sending him the wrong way.

The atmosphere in the ground was cranked up a notch and Saints looked rattled. The team were unable to maintain their shape for a period. Sunderland initially enjoyed better control of possession with the extra man. Dick Advocaat's side were content to play keep-ball. Saints saw more of the ball later on, but showed little quality in the final third. It felt as if a goal was never going to come, but it nearly did in stoppage time as Saints went more direct. Toby Alderweireld forced Pantilimon into a fine save from close range.

Another fruitless away trip and another flat performance. Saints looked ok at times early on, but our lack of attacking alternatives were exposed once again in the second half. Koeman's side managed to keep the ball fairly well for a side down to ten, but they never really made much use of that possession. Saints have had something to play for all season, but it hasn't really felt like that too often in recent months. The season is petering out and 7th place looks more and more likely. Saints will likely be relying on Arsenal to win the FA Cup to claim that final Europa League spot.

Player Ratings

K Davis: 6. Didn't have many saves to make

Clyne: 6. A few good runs forward, but often wasteful on the ball

Fonte: 6. Gave away the first penalty, a decision which could have gone either way. Did ok otherwise

Yoshida: 6. Didn't cover himself in glory in the build-up to both penalties, but did well in other areas. Generally read the game well

Bertrand: 6. Very good in the first-half at both ends of the pitch. Some decent crossing. Slacked off a bit in the second

Alderweireld: 7. Decent on the ball. Showed his skill without really offering much going forward

Wanyama: 7. Made some good bursting runs through the middle

Ward-Prowse: 5. Passing a level below his high standards. Not involved enough before his red card

Long: 5. Some good pressing, but poor on the ball

Mane: 7. Made things happen. Skilful and tenacious

Pelle: 6. Some decent movement early on. Used his body to good effect at times. Saw less of the ball in the 2nd half with Saints down to ten


Djuricic: 5. Good technique, but poor decision making

S Davis: 6. Helped Saints get to grips with the ball slightly better, but didn't offer much offensively

Elia: 5. Made little impact

Match Details

Sunderland - Jordi Gomez (21, 55)

Saints - Mane (22)

Attendance - 39,613

Referee - Mike Jones


Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, Coates, O'Shea (Vergini 31), van Aanholt, Cattermole, Larsson (Rodwell 82), Jordi Gomez, Defore (Johnson 82), Graham, Wickham

Subs not used: Mannone, Bridcutt, Reveillere, Buckley

Saints: K Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Alderweireld, Wanyama (S Davis 66), Ward-Prowse, Long (Djuricic 46), Mane (Elia 70), Pelle

Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Gardos, Targett, Reed

Previous Match Reports

25/04/2015 Saints 2-2 Tottenham
20/04/2015: Saints U21s 2-1 Blackburn U21s
18/04/2015: Stoke 2-1 Saints
11/04/2015: Saints 2-0 Hull
04/04/2015: Everton 1-0 Saints
21/03/2015: Saints 2-0 Burnley
16/03/2015: Saints U21s 2-0 Liverpool U21s
15/03/2015: Chelsea 1-1 Saints
05/03/2015: Saints U21s 4-2 Derby U21s
03/03/2015: Saints 1-0 Crystal Palace
28/02/2015: West Brom 1-0 Saints
23/02/2015: Saints U21s 0-0 Tottenham U21s
22/02/2015: Saints 0-2 Liverpool
12/02/2015: Saints U21s 3-2 Watford U21s
11/02/2015: Saints 0-0 West Ham
07/02/2015: QPR 0-1 Saints
01/02/2015: Saints 0-1 Swansea
24/01/2015: Saints 2-3 Crystal Palace
17/01/2015: Newcastle 1-2 Saints
15/01/2015: Saints U21s 2-0 Norwich U21s
14/01/2015: Ipswich 0-1 Saints
12/01/2015: Fulham U21s 1-2 Saints U21s
11/01/2015: Man United 0-1 Saints
04/01/2015: Saints 1-1 Ipswich
01/01/2015: Saints 2-0 Arsenal
28/12/2014: Saints 1-1 Chelsea
26/12/2014: Crystal Palace 1-3 Saints
20/12/2014: Saints 3-0 Everton
16/12/2014: Sheffield United 1-0 Saints
13/12/2014: Burnley 1-0 Saints
09/12/2014: Saints U18s 2-1 West Ham U18s
08/12/2014: Saints 1-2 Man United
03/12/2014: Arsenal 1-0 Saints
01/12/2014: Saints U21s 1-0 Man United U21s
30/11/2014: Saints 0-3 Man City
24/11/2014: Aston Villa 1-1 Saints
08/11/2014: Saints 2-0 Leicester
01/11/2014: Hull 0-1 Saints
29/10/2014: Stoke 2-3 Saints
25/10/2014: Saints 1-0 Stoke
18/10/2014: Saints 8-0 Sunderland
05/10/2014: Tottenham 1-0 Saints
29/09/2014: Saints U21s 2-0 Norwich U21s
27/09/2014: Saints 2-1 QPR
23/09/2014: Arsenal 1-2 Saints
20/09/2014: Swansea 0-1 Saints
13/09/2014: Saints 4-0 Newcastle
12/09/2014: Tottenham U21s 3-2 Saints U21s
30/08/2014: West Ham 1-3 Saints
26/08/2014: Millwall 0-2 Saints
23/08/2014: Saints 0-0 West Brom
22/08/2014: West Ham U21s 1-2 Saints U21s
17/08/2014: Liverpool 2-1 Saints
09/08/2014: Saints 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
31/07/2014: Brighton 1-3 Saints
25/07/2014: Bournemouth 0-1 Saints
21/07/2014: Swindon 0-1 Saints