Sunderland 0 Fulham 0: Deluded boss Steve Bruce defends his shocking side

01 March 2010 01:51
Fourteen games without a win and Steve Bruce is still insistent that Sunderland will not be involved in the relegation scrap. But his squad are doing a very plausible impression of a team determined to get sucked into the bottom three.

Sunderland were booed off at half-time and the final whistle and jeered for their constant pathetic passing.

Lee Cattermole perfected the art almost every time he touched the ball and was finally put out of his misery 10 minutes into the second half. At that point the home side had managed just two shots at Mark Schwarzer.

Point blank: Fulham stopper Mark Schwarzer saves from close range

The first from Kenwyne Jones flew over and Schwarzer spilled the second, an awkward bouncing free-kick from Darren Bent who chose a bad time to have an off day, just 24 hours after losing his England place.

There was little improvement from Bent or his team-mates after the break, although there were half-chances from the Sunderland top scorer, Cattermole's replacement Bolo Zenden, fellow sub Benjani and Alan Hutton, who somehow hit the side-netting with the goal open.

Held up: Kenwyne Jones jumps above Danny Murphy but his header misses

In the final minute, with just Schwarzer to bear, Fraizer Campbell blasted over the bar.

Bruce said: 'I still think we will be OK. We need a little break, we need to handle the expectation. We didn't handle the ball well and resorted to lumping it up the pitch.'

MATCH STATSSUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Gordon 6; Hutton 6, Turner 7, Mensah 7, Ferdinand 7; Campbell 5, Cattermole 5 (Zenden 55, 6), Cana 6, Richardson 6; Jones 5 (Benjani 80), Bent 6.

Booked: Hutton, Richardson, Turner.

FULHAM (4-5-1): Schwarzer 5; Baird 6, Hangeland 7, Hughes 7, Shorey 6; Duff 6, Murphy 6 (Greening 58, 5), Etuhu 6, Davies 6; Zamora 6 (Elm 87).

Booked: Baird, Greening, Zamora.

Man of the match: John Mensah.

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Roy Hodgson's side, who have already played 44 games to Sunderland's 32, hardly looked like a team who had stepped off a flight from Ukraine in the early hours of Friday morning having pulled off one of the best results in their history.

But Bobby Zamora squandered the game's best chance with a miscued header when Craig Gordon was stranded and Damien Duff finished the game's best move of 18 passes with a shot wide.

Hodgson said: 'The good thing is that nobody can take our unbeaten February away from us and that point takes us to 38 with 10 games to go which means we don't have the Sword of Damocles hanging over us.'

 Murphy backs Konchesky and Zamora to bolster England optionsFIRING LINE: Three is the not so magic number for Sunderland boss BruceSUNDERLAND AFC

Source: Daily_Mail