Saturday 29 April 2017, 15.00, Stadium of Light

The Premier League clash between Sunderland and Bournemouth.

Sunderland and District Teachers A.F.C was formed in 1879 and joined the Football League in 1890.  It only took them until the 1891-92 season to win the league title, a feat they repeated the following season.

The early successes continued for the North East side, with second placed finishes in 1894, 1898, 1901 and 1923 and further title victories in 1895, 1902 and 1913.

The ‘Black Cats’ were almost relegated in 1928, but recovered from that scare, and won the league again in 1936, for the sixth time.  The following season saw them win the FA Cup for the first time.

1957 saw a second financial scandal at the club, after one in 1904, with both times seeing fines and suspensions for board members.  This time, it hit them hard and they were relegated for the first time the following season.

It took them 6 years to get back in the top league, with a return to the (then) Division One in 1964.  Before the end of the decade they were to drop back down again.

Their most notable trophy since the second world war came in 1973 when they won the FA Cup as a Second Division side, beating the much fancied Leeds United in the final, mainly due to the heroics of their goalkeeper Jim Montgomery.  They lost in the final of 1992 and also in the League Cup Final of 2014.

The 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s saw them share time between the top two leagues, with even one season in the third tier in 1987-88.

The new millennium saw them start again in the (now) Premiership, but three of those seasons were spent in the league below.  Although the vast majority of seasons have seen the club at the wrong end of the table, they have been in the top tier since 2007.

Sunderland have had seven stadiums throughout their history, with the longest stay at Roker Park, where they were from 1898 until 1997.  They now play at the all-seater Stadium of Light, which has a capacity of 49,000.

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While the Sunderland fans are used to a relegation battle, the usual recovery hadn’t materialised this time and they would be relegated from the top flight should they lose and 17th-placed Hull City either drew or won against Southampton.   They sat 12 points from safety with 15 to play for after their midweek loss to Middlesbrough.  They go into the game without the suspended Sebastian Larsson and the injured Oviedo, Kirchoff, McNair, Watmore, Cattermole, Denayer, Gibson and Rodwell.

Bournemouth were formed as Boscombe FC in 1899 and began playing in the Bournemouth and District Junior League.  In 1905 they became a senior amateur club.

In 1910, ‘The Cherries’ moved to Dean Court and after the outbreak of the first world war, they went to the Hampshire League.  When the Third Division was formed in 1920, Boscombe became members of the Southern League.

They were elected to the Football League in 1923 and renamed the club Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic.  They had a long wait for their first trophy after joining the football league, winning the Third Division (South) Cup in 1946.

They happily contested in the Third Division and the next major incidents came at the start of the 1970s.  In 1972 when they changed their name to AFC Bournemouth.  The year before they had changed their strip to black and red stripes, mirroring the colours of AC Milan.

Manager Harry Redknapp gained promotion for the Cherries in 1987 to elevate them to the second tier for the first time.  They were relegated again in 1990.

They fell into the fourth tier in 2002, but returned immediately, via the play-offs.

Administration hit them hard in 2008, as did the ten point deduction and they were relegated at the end of the season.

The Football League threatened to block Bournemouth’s participation in League Two before the start of the 2008–09 season due to issues with their continuing administration.  They eventually relented and allowed them to compete with a 17 point penalty.

Thirty-one year old former player Eddie Howe became the third manager of that season, initially as caretaker, in December of 2008 with Bournemouth still ten points adrift at the bottom of the league.  They secured safety in their penultimate game to retain their league status.

That close season saw the club finally attract new owners and the following campaign saw Howe lead them to promotion.  He left to become Burnley manager in January 2011, and the side lost out in the play-offs for another promotion.

A poor start in 2012-13 had relegation worries return, but Howe returned as manager and took them all the way up the table to promotion to the Championship.  Season 2014-15 saw them win the Championship and they had arrived in the top league for the first time.  Last season saw them finish in 16th place and retain their top division status.

Coming into the game with Sunderland, Bournemouth sat on 38 points, seven clear of the relegation zone, having ended a four-match winless run with a 4-0 win over Middlesbrough the previous weekend.

The Cherries were missing several players through injury, namely Gosling, Surman,  Federici,  Wiggins, Wilson and Wilshere.

There were 38,394 at the game, a decent attendance considering, but there were large numbers of empty seats and it was Sunderland’s lowest home crowd of the season.  I don’t know if the Sunderland fans had already accepted their fate, but it was surprising how upbeat it seemed to be in the stadium as kick off approached.

Bournemouth immediately began moving the ball well and won a corner in the opening minute.  Daniels played a short corner to Fraser who returned it to him and he ran along the by-line but it was blocked for another corner which was cleared.

A misjudgement of the ball in the air by a Sunderland defender in 3 minutes gave Bournemouth another corner, but it came to nothing.

Some nice passing by Bournemouth in 6 minutes ended with Smith finding King on the edge of the box, but his low shot was covered by Pickford in the Sunderland goal.

Anichebe found Defoe in 11 minutes who was tackled on the edge of the box.  The ball came back to Borini whose swerving shot was parried by Boruc.  The rebound fell to Defoe, but he was off balance and slipped as he put the ball over the Bournemouth bar.

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King burst into the Sunderland box in 12 minutes after receiving a pass from Arter and went down under the challenge of Koné, but the referee wasn’t interested in his claims for a penalty.  It did look like the correct decision.

There was a bit of a scramble in the home box in 13 minutes when Daniels managed to break through a couple of tackles, but Pickford managed to claim the ball eventually.

Defoe played the ball left to Khazri as the home side came forward in 18 minutes.  He returned the ball to Defoe just inside the box, but his curling shot was too high.

In 19 minutes, Afobe played King down the left for Bournemouth and curled a fantastic shot towards goal which came off the bar and post before bouncing out and falling into the grateful arms of Pickford.

Almost immediately, Defoe had the ball up the other end, but his attempted pass across goal was cut out by Francis.

Sunderland’s Khazri was next to have a go, but his shot from around 22 yards in 21 minutes was too high.

A strong tackle on Borini won Bournemouth the ball in 23 minutes and the Sunderland striker stayed down as Bournemouth played on.  They created room for a shot from the edge of the box, but Pickford saved.  Borini required treatment before continuing.

Anichebe laid the ball off to Defoe in 25 minutes after robbing Francis, but his shot was blocked by the Bournemouth defender.  There were appeals for handball, but the referee wasn’t interested.  It did hit his hand, but he was facing the other way and he was very close to the shot.

There was a decent spell of possession by Sunderland which led to a chance in 29 minutes.  Ndong headed the ball in for Defoe, but he volleyed straight at Boruc from about 8 yards.

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King showed good strength to hold off Ndong in 32 minutes before he squared the ball for a teammate who shot too close to Pickford.

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Bournemouth’s King was booked in 33 minutes for a foul on Borini.

I’m not sure if the home fans had already given up on survival, but it felt like sitting in a Wetherspoons pub with all the chatting that was going on in the stands.

Borini picked out Defoe in 39 minutes and he ran to the edge of the Bournemouth box, but his shot flew wide of goal.

A pass across the face of the Sunderland goal by Pugh in 40 minutes saw Afobe’s shot blocked by O’Shea and the ball fell to King who saw his effort cleared off the line by Love.

Francis made a fabulous airborne interception in 44 minutes as a long ball by Sunderland looked like sending Defoe clean through on goal.

A slightly disappointing first half with both teams giving their all, but neither side breaking the deadlock.

Sunderland’s Pienaar received a yellow card in 47 minutes.

A ball up the right by Bournemouth in 49 minutes found Fraser and he took it into the box and went down when challenged by Manquillo.  The referee again ignored appeals.  It again looked the right decision.

With 50 minutes gone, Pugh tried a curling effort from the left side of the box, looking for the far corner, which went inches wide of the Sunderland goal.

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Ndong won the ball from King in 51 minutes and sent Defoe off towards the Bournemouth goal.  He passed to Borini in the box, but Boruc got something on his shot to divert it from goal.

The game was becoming more and more open and Bournemouth were back up the other end again in 52 minutes and Afobe held the ball up well before laying it off to Fraser on the edge of the box, but he didn’t catch his shot well and it was easy for Pickford.

Fraser’s free kick into the Sunderland box in 54 minutes was met by the head of Steve Cook, but his effort was off target.

The home side were a bit over elaborate as they looked to create something in 67 minutes, but eventually Borini found Honeyman in the box whose shot was well saved by Boruc.

Fraser played a ball to the back post in 69 minutes and a Sunderland player jumped in front of Pugh which must have put him off, because he rushed his effort when he had more time than he realised, with the ball hitting his head and going over the bar.

A bad tackle by Sunderland’s Borini in 75 minutes resulted in lots of pushing and shoving, with Bournemouth’s Arter picking up a booking.

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The hosts’ Khazri was booked in 78 minutes after pushing Smith following arguments about the award of a Bournemouth corner.  (It shouldn’t have been a corner).

King went down in the Sunderland box in 83 minutes, but the referee clearly wasn’t for giving any penalties.

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With three minutes left, Defoe had a shot from a tight angle after latching onto a Koné flick on which was deflected over the Bournemouth bar by Smith.

In 88 minutes, Bournemouth broke forward and Mousset played in Fraser on the right who squared the ball for King to tap home at the back post to give the Cherries the lead.

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The goal prompted discontent from the home fans and there were shouts for manager Moyes to go.

The full-time whistle was met with boos from the majority in the ground as Sunderland’s 10 year stay in the Premier League ended.  Hull’s draw at Southampton meant that the Black Cats were relegated.  Southampton had seen a penalty saved near the end which would have only prolonged the inevitable.

Sunderland worked hard but lacked quality in the attacking areas.  Bournemouth knocked the ball about well and looked a decent side, but again, could have done with more penetration up front.

Arter ran the game for Bournemouth in midfield with King and Fraser working hard up front.  For Sunderland, Defoe’s movement and sharpness stood out, but it wasn’t his day in front of goal.

Full Time: Sunderland 0 Bournemouth 1

Admission: £25

Sunderland: 13 Jordan Pickford, 22 Donald Love, 23 Lamine Koné, 16 John O’Shea, 21 Javier Manquillo, 17 Didier Ndong, 20 Steven Pienaar (Honeyman 55), 10 Wahbi Khazri, 28 Victor Anichebe, 9 Fabio Borini, 18 Jermain Defoe. Subs: 1 Vito Mannone, 5 Papy Djilobodji, 15 Joleon Lescott, 39 George Honeyman, 40 Elliot Embleton, 44 Adnan Januzaj, 46 Lynden Gooch.

Bournemouth: 1 Artur Boruc, 15 Adam Smith, 2 Simon Francis, 3 Steve Cook, 11 Charlie Daniels, 24 Ryan Fraser (Gradel 90), 8 Harry Arter, 18 Lewis Cook, 7 Marc Pugh (Mousset 82), 17 Joshua King, 9 Benik Afobe (Stanislas 57). Subs: 10 Max Gradel, 14 Brad Smith, 19 Junior Stanislas, 21 Ryan Allsop, 26 Tyrone Mings, 31 Lys Mousset, 33 Jordon Ibe.

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Programme: £3

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