Three Nil To The Cockney Boys

Last updated : 21 April 2002 By Vinny Ryan
Repka: Man of the Match
Today's was arguably our best performance of the season. We played some fantastic stuff and there were some players who were just outstanding. The only downside is that we didn't score more.

Kanouté was missing again. The man doesn't seem to be able to have a run of games without getting injured or something. On top of that, Di Canio was out so our first-choice strike force was out. But we didn't need them today.

Sinclair joined Jermain Defoe up front as we kept the 4-4-2 with Schemmel on the right wing and Joey Cole on the left. Ian Pearce kept his place and went in at right back. Winterburn replaced Labant at left back also.

It started very evenly. But it was clear that Quinn was going to cause us problems in the air.

We thought we had scored when Sinclair crossed for the man of the moment Joe Cole to tap in from close range. Everyone was celebrating and the announcer even told us all it was a goal! But I'd already spotted the linesman's flag the moment it had gone in. It looked a little dubious though.

Sinclair was trying his best up front but every time he would try a flick it would just go off for a throw in - it was comical! But after 28 minutes it was Sinclair who opened the scoring with a great goal. Repka played a great ball over the top to Schemmel and with one touch he knocked the ball over the defender for Sinclair to blast home from about 18 yards. I think we just about deserved it.

Sunderland had quite a bit of possession but done nothing with it and didn't have one chance of real note. The goal gave us the drive to go on and get more and we were putting some decent pressure on. We went in at half time 1-0 up. And you just couldn't see Sunderland scoring and like many times before - it looked like a comfortable home win.

Would the second half surprise us? Nope not really. Sunderland had pressure but didn't do anything with it.

From a corner I think it was Lomas who's headed was saved a point blank range from the keeper and from the clearance, Schemmel hit a good shot which was tipped over by the Sunderland keeper Sorensen.

But with only 7 minutes on the clock in the second half we wrapped it up with another great move which led to a great finish from Stevie Lomas. Carrick fed Cole who went on a little run and played the ball in behind the Sunderland defence for Sinclair to pull back for Lomas to score his 3rd goal of the season.

Phillips went off on about the 70-minute mark after a challenge from Pearce which led to Pearcey getting booked. It didn't look like much but Phillips was carried off with what looked like bad injury.

I thought today we played some great stuff. Carrick was sitting in the middle knocking balls about for fun. Cole's running was causing the Mackems no end of trouble. Lomas was working very very hard in midfield. Overall it was just a great team effort.

The points were definitely rapped up with just over 10 minutes to go. Lomas hit a deep cross from the right which was knocked back from Sinclair for Jermain Defoe to header in from about 3 yards.

A few minutes after the goal, Defoe was replaced by Garcia, and a little after that Labant replaced Schemmel. "Archie" was given a brilliant reception. He had been awarded with the Official Sites player of the season. And I fully expect him to get the proper award after the Bolton match.

We did have one more great chance near the end. Garcia ran with the ball and poked it to Carrick who out of nowhere had a burst of pace, beat the defender and his shot was tipped over by the keeper. He really did deserve it to go in.

Overall - it was great performance and it showed that we can still turn out a great performance without Di Canio and Kanouté.

We oozed class today. Sunderland weren't great but if we had of switched off then we would have been punished.

Arsenal on Wednesday - anything we get from that is a bonus. It's our game in hand. We have nothing to lose.

David James 8 - He looks the complete keeper at times. Today it wasn't about shot stopping as there weren't many shots at him. But today his kicking and coming for crosses were at focus. And he did everything right. Made the right decisions every time.
Ian Pearce 7 - He looks like he is getting back to his full fitness. He was strong and didn't hesitate in getting forward.
Tomas Repka MAN OF THE MATCH 9 - I've never given him man of the match before and I have often questioned his defending. But apart from one rash challenge in the first half on Phillips, he was very composed. In fact - he was f-ing excellent!
Christian Dailly 8 - Yep, he was excellent today. He and Repka looked very solid and very calm. Nothing was getting past Dailly today.
Nutty Nigel Winterburn 7 - Just like the other defenders, he was excellent. Works ever so hard, and it will be sad to see him go. Long live Nige!
Archie Schemmel 8 - Time and time again he produces great performances. Today was no exception. He was very dangerous down the right wing and played a major part in the first goal. He has to win that Hammer of the year award.
Stevie Lomas 8 - A great captains performance. He was out of this world today. He won everything in the air and his passing was top notch. Fantastic.
Michael Carrick 9 - I've been known to criticise him but credit where credit is due. He was just superb. He was great at Tottenham and even better today. He sat in the middle and sprayed some great passes about and was unlucky not to score at the end.
Joey Cole 8 - He's the man of the moment. Will he go to the world cup? I think he will, if today is anything to go by. He was giving Sunderland a headache with his mazy runs and great little flicks. He seconded that with some great challenges and good tracking back.
Jermain Defoe 7 - Got his trademark goal. Looked dangerous throughout. Didn't get into the game as much as I would of liked. But he's a goal scorer - and he got his goal.
Trevor Sinclair 8 - He was the makeshift striker today. He worked really hard. All his flicks weren't coming off. But he scored a great goal and set up the 2 and 3rd goals. Sinclair is a great player. One of the best we have had here for the last 10 years.
Garcia (on for Defoe) - I thought he looked quite decent. Didn't do that much but set up a chance for Carrick near the end. He could still make it.
Labant (on for Schemmel) - Wasn't on for long. We are going to see much more of him next season. According to Roeder he has "guaranteed him a place next season."