Post by Football News on Apr 29, 2017 16:08:35 GMT
Sunderland 0 - 1 AFC Bournemouth
Sunderland relegated from Premier League after defeat to Bournemouth
Away team scorers Joshua King 88
Relegation has finally become a reality for Sunderland and divorce from David Moyes may not be far behind it.
A combination of Josh King’s deserved 88th-minute winner for Bournemouth and Hull City’s draw at Southampton pushed Sunderland unceremoniously into the Championship.
At the end their manager, who has indicated he could resign, stood alone, staring blankly into space as the chants of “We want Moyes out” from a previously very quiet crowd gathered momentum.
Bournemouth began by forcing a series of corners. With the lively Marc Pugh clearly on a mission to torment Donald Love, Moyes’s right back, the home defence was soon in all too familiarly shambolic mode.
Admittedly Fabio Borini’s viciously swerving shot forced Artur Boruc into a good save but King – who has scored more goals than Sunderland during 2017 – missed four first-half chances as his side monopolised possession to an almost embarrassing extent.
If Bournemouth were playing a three-dimensional, high-definition passing game, Sunderland’s tactics seemed to be from the analogue age and principally featured the ball being pumped in Jermain Defoe’s direction as early and directly as possible.
King’s most audacious attempt involved him changing pace, cutting in from the left and unleashing a curving, dipping shot which hit the underside of the bar and the inside of the far post before somehow rebounding, bagatelle style, to safety.
Goodness knows what might have happened if Didier Ndong, Sunderland’s best player, had not been around to hold the home midfield together. The Gabon international’s interceptions repeatedly broke up wave upon wave of blue-shirted visiting attacks.
Ndong’s interventions were keeping Sunderland in a game in which Moyes’s players might have startled everyone by taking the lead had Defoe not directed a six-yard volley straight at Boruc after springing Eddie Howe’s offside trap.
After that little cameo Howe started to cut an ever more agitated, and animated, figure in the technical area. Try as they might – and Benik Afobe had a shot blocked by Javier Manquillo, while Love cleared off the line from King – his players’ slight hesitancy in front of goal dictated they could not quite turn their technical and creative superiority into goals.
It left Sunderland with real hope of snatching victory on the counterattack. Indeed, very shortly after Pugh had shot fractionally wide, one such break, early in the second half, concluded with Borini collecting Defoe’s well weighted pass and, once again, bringing the best out of Boruc.
By now the attendance figure had been announced as a significantly lower than average yet still respectable 38,394. With an awful lot of vacant red plastic seats – many sun-bleached by the passing years and badly in need of replacing – scattered around the ground that number raised a few eyebrows.
The white heat of social media posts had suggested there would be vociferous anti-Moyes protests but, instead, the mood was strangely subdued, more about apathy than anger and punctuated by lengthy, slightly surreal, silences.
Sunderland manager David Moyes in the final moments of the game.
Perhaps the hint Moyes dropped on Friday, indicating he might well leave Sunderland over the summer, had drawn the sting from the dissenters and prevented a mutiny or maybe some of England’s most loyal fans simply had no energy left after such a draining, depressing campaign.
There was polite applause when Boruc – by now emerging as a surprisingly influential figure – saved smartly from substitute, and academy graduate, George Honeyman following Defoe’s cute reverse pass.
Not even a mass bout of push and shove engaged in by every outfield player could raise the volume. It began with Borini catching Lewis Cook late, eventually involved everyone piling in to remonstrate to each other and ended with Stuart Attwell, the referee, booking Borini and Harry Arter.
King thought he should have had a penalty in the wake of a foul from Lamine Koné but managed to score in the end anyway, shooting assuredly low and right beyond Pickford after being played in by Ryan Fraser on a high-speed break.
It was the cue for the first choruses of “We want Moyes out”. By the final whistle blew they had gained in volume and stridency and Sunderland were in the second tier.