After criticising Steve Bruces tactical know how in my previous reports I have to say that against Spurs Bruce got it spot on. With the energy and agility of Henderson, Meyler and Cattermole chasing and harrying Spurs in midfield – not letting them settle on the ball, and the pace and endeavour of Bent and Campbell up front Spurs never got into the game. Flash ‘Arry had obviously set up to withstand an aerial battering from Jones and they just couldn’t cope with the ball along the ground to feet.
Darren Bent seems to be after all of the goal-scoring achievements this season taking the “title” of fastest goal of the season off team mate Campbell by scoring after only 36 seconds. This was after Campbells diving header had been parried by Gomez.
A debatable penalty for handball, clinically despatched by Bent, was the end of the scoring in the first half, but not of incidents. Gomez was called on to make a number of top class saves, including one from the penalty spot when Campbell was tripped in the area.
When substitute Crouch pulled one back for Spurs it appeared to be the cue for Sunderland to make their usual mistake of dropping back and defending deeper and deeper. However,instead, much to the delight of the home crowd Sunderland, demonstrating their new-found confidence, continued to push forward and batter Spurs, to the extent that it was right back Ferdinand who found himself inside the Spurs penalty area side footing a loose ball calmly into the corner of Spurs goal. Unfortunately the referee found an excuse to disallow this perfectly good goal.
Despite this setback Sunderland refused to be pushed back and a great team performance was capped off by a contender for goal of the season from Bolo Zenden. The hard-working and fast running Henderson was played in on the right wing, getting to the bye-line before looking up and firing in a pinpoint cross whic sailed over the heavily marked Jone’s head before being met by a glorious volley into the roof of the net from Zendens cultured left foot.
That was game over and the best team on the day won a deserved three points which have dispelled any lingering relegation fears.