Writer: The New Ricky Hill
Date:Sunday May 6 2007
6 May 2007, 1pm
The big match atmosphere at Kenilworth Road again, with a very crowded away end, media everywhere, and noise all round as Sunderland came to clinch the Championship needing to win and hope that Preston knocked back Birmingham. The return of Carlos Edwards, replete with new Beckhamesque hairstyle for the big game. And the Town striving for two successive wins, a performance last achieved in mid-October.
After victory at Southend the Town team:
Keane Coyne Barnett Emanuel
O'Leary Spring Bell
Leon Barnett pronounced pre-match as Supporters` Club Player of the Year. On the bench Drew Talbot, Ahmet Brkovic, Adam Boyd, Richard Langley and Russ Perrett.
Not sure what the story is with Dean Morgan, who was present and besuited again.
Coming in under the Main Stand it was immediately obvious that there were large numbers of Wearside accented groups, and with their presence the ground seemed pretty full. Huge numbers of Sunderland fans in the Oak Road made a noise not heard in years.
Just 4 minutes in and the inevitable happened - a rather unfortunate bounce of the ball off Leon and a free shot opened up from 15 yards, which Anthony Stokes drilled home low past Brill.
Sections of the Main Stand erupted, first in joy and then in an exchange of handbags as the odd Neanderthal reacted adversely.
And while we were all distracted wondering where the police and stewards were, the Sunderland midfield had the same issue with the Town defence and Darryl Murphy proved it with a second goal on 5 minutes drilling home a pass from Carlos.
For 20 minutes it looked like a massacre was inevitable, shots raining in on the Town goal as Sunderland's pace and guile exposed a stunned Town team which couldn't press tightly enough to stop them. Meantime the Black Cats pressed and harried whenever a Town player was near the ball. It was like watching us play Liverpool or Reading, except that all the noise was away fans, and it was Luton who couldn`t cope with the pressure.
Gradually however the Town's confidence grew and they started to match the Black Cats for endeavour, led from the front by Idrizaj, if not for quality. The half-time stats for shots would have made very poor reading though, perhaps 10-2 to Sunderland.
At the start of the second half Keith Keane, isolated on the right, makes a stunning and vital tackle to thwart Sunderland` opening attack, and surged forward. "There`s only one Keano" we thought, but his pass was intercepted and suddenly Sunderland are back in the hole he has just vacated. Quick low cross on edge of 6 yard box, no covering defender, simple tap-in for Murphy. Dean Brill went ballistic, almost puce with rage not at Keane, but the lack of central cover.
And it could have been 0-4 within 5 minutes as Sunderland poured down the right and a low cross was somehow stopped by Emanuel.
Relatively early Blackwell started to ring the changes. Langley for O'Leary, a sight to strike fear into the hearts of the home fans.
To give the players credit they were still working hard, and a great ball from Spring down the right channel set free Idrizaj, who nodded on and passed the Sunderland full back at a rate of knots heading for the byeline. Or he would have done had he not been tripped. Penalty! The ref waved the appeals away and instead gave a free-kick just outside. Poor decision, definitely in the box, but hardly relevant somehow today. And of course nothing ever looked like coming from it.
Brkovic came on for Bell, who had looked pretty anonymous compared to his usual high standard. Brky showed a flew tantalizing glimpses of colour in his hair, and curled a couple of super corners and free-kicks, but didn`t set the world on fire.
With 15 minutes to go Langley tried to trap a low pass and let it under his foot, unable to keep it in despite a game chase. "That's why we're going down" sang the few Town faithful, which the Sunderland fans applauded before responding with "That's why we're going up" as Ross Wallace hit a screamer past Brill from 30 yards for 0-4.
Shortly afterwards news filtered through that Preston had scored against Birmingham, and cries of "Championes" and "We're gonna win the league" rang around KR in powerful echoes of Newell`s glory days. But his ship was well and truly sunk by then, and the final torpedo duly arrived as David Connolly headed home afree-kick from the left.
0-5! How low can we actually go before it gets better?
Jubilation at the final whistle. There may have been boos from home fans, but if so they were drowned out by the celebrating Wearsiders, here, there, everywhere.
Fortress KR my arse.
Brill 6 let in five but stopped at least a couple more and actually shouted and organised the back four.
Keane 6 game and committed as usual
Barnett 4 a mare and showed his complete inability to kick a ball on numerous occasions
Coyne 5 not as commanding as he had started to look
Emanuel 5 had his hands full with Edwards but kept him pretty quiet
O`Leary 5 ran and ran but never arrived
Heikkinen 5 actually ran a few times for a change
Spring 6 about the only quality in a Town shirt, MoM
Bell 6 not allowed any space
Idrizaj 6 looking better and could shine in League 1
Andrew 6 did well in the air, less so on the ground
Date:Sunday May 6 2007
Hatters Sign Duo (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Hatters Sign Tigers Striker (Sunday May 19 2013)
Luton to Entertain Aston Villa (Friday May 17 2013)
Tyler`s Staying (Friday May 17 2013)
I Wish It Was Us! (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Favourites (Again)! (Monday May 13 2013)
Keeper Ranks Bolstered (Monday May 13 2013)
Nielson Finds New Club (Monday May 13 2013)
Welcome to the Mad World! (Monday May 13 2013)
I Felt Physically Sick! (Monday May 13 2013)
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