The ACN Match Review – Sunderland (a)


As our road to nowhere stretches far into the distance, Nick Hayhoe watches some more baffling attempts at “doing some football”. When will this end.

The line-up

Genuinely had to double check that I wasn’t reading the Sunderland line-up at first. Who are these people? Fisher? Forshaw? Fassnacht? Have we run out of players and need to start using regens? Regardless, these 11 men lined up to play a football match for Norwich City and formed some sort of formation.

The atmosphere

Before the match, fellow ACNer Cameron Huggett shared a wonderful photograph with us that his grandfather had taken on a Cup away day to Sunderland in 1951. Having then looked up the Pathé News footage, I couldn’t help but pine somewhat for Roker Park – a glorious and massive stadium of terrace banks against a northern industrial backdrop of factories and smog.

The Stadium of Light will, unfortunately, never quite live up to the same level, but it’s impossible to fault 30,000+ turning out for a second-tier match. Non-Premier League football is booming in England right now, and for that we should at least be grateful.

Hurrah moment

The aforementioned regen Fisher, who had the awareness to realise that Sara was offside but Sunderland weren’t playing to the whistle, launched himself onto a ball on the right and played a cut back to Hwang just outside the box. So often we see whoever receives it there absolutely smashes it over the bar, but Hwang slotted it nicely in the bottom corner. For a microsecond, I thought things were going to be alright.

Boo moment

Oh dear. It’s just so meek. We looked on top for a rare five minutes after we scored, but we failed to convert this pressure and then fell into the same old trap. The Sunderland goals were… nothing goals really. Those sorts of goals that are conceded when tactically they probably weren’t trying tactically to score. Forshaw’s error for the second, deflected, goal was a car crash in slow motion.

Then, for a decent period in the second half to be completely blown by a complete moment of incompetence by Duffy just went and summarised the entire situation around Norwich City Football Club right now. Hohhh boy. The question of the age currently is ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’™ and fucked if I know the answer to this, but it isn’t with the current set-up.

Hero of the match

Hwang took his goal well, and was also moderately okay at harassing the Sunderland defence in possession for most of the game. Otherwise it’s hard to pick anyone out.

Our post-match takeaway

Pizza please. Money’s tight though, so it’s one of those fakeaway kinds from Aldi that looks just enough unlike a Dominos box to avoid lawsuits.


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