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Still smiling from the perfect Valentine's Day, Sunderland welcomed a Semenyo-less, but still on a canny run of form, City to Wearside and they pinched a point in added time.

Clarke's blaster looked to have won it, but we should really have capitalised in the ten minute spell after it in which we had several near misses. A well organised visiting team showed why they've not lost in a while and a neutral would probably view it as a fair result.

Oh, the tears of joy we experienced on Tuesday night dripping down our faces into our mouths drowning us in joy - what a great awayday in West London. A special mention to our fans as well - of all the away fans at our division's six games that night, 43% were at Loftus Road. That's 2,554 (2,555 if you include Lines from London in the home seats) out of 5,673. Nice one, folks, but how many of those present realised that former loaner Jimmy Dunne was tottering about in defence for them? From a flimsy but promising 22 year old to still flimsy but obviously no better 25 year old. Looks like we dodged a bullet there - or are QPR's coaching and organisation more to blame?

As our bus picked its way through the sundry garden furniture, and the roof of Aycliffe Big Club, that represented the aftermath of Storm Otto (stop giving them names, they just get windier) we wondered how the team would change. Probably back to last Saturday's eleven - but we also wondered how Andy Carroll made our Division's team of the week ahead of Roberts. It's a funny old game.

..and we were correct about the team


Hume Batth Ballard Alese

Neil Michut

Roberts Amad Clarke


. .with a bench of Bass, Ba, Ekwah, O'Nien, Cirkin, Lihadji, and Pritchard. That list of potential subs would worry any opponents in this league - but it fills me with joy and anticipation.

Unlike the weather, which had gone from bright and sunny in Bishop to dull and damp/wet in Monkwearmouth- but at least the Sheepfolds drummer was back, defying the rain to send myriad droplets into the air with every beat. The moisture could well help our quick passing game - silver lining and that.

We faced South and they kicked off towards their impressively large following. Most of the opening exchanges were in our half, and we didn't get a real break until four minutes had passed, when we headed away a free kick and Amad hit a defender rather than Joff after bursting down the inside-right channel. Unlucky.

A foul on Hume on halfway halted our next foray upfield, then Joff's shot was blocked on the edge of the box. There was some great defending by Hume on 8 minutes to ensure a goal kick rather than anything less savoury as we struggled to keep hold of the ball. We were producing some intricate stuff from the usual suspects on the right, but Gelhardt wasn't getting anything in the way of a ball to his feet in the box. Bang on 13 the visitors' first shot got through, but it was well wide of Patto's right hand post. Ballard s clearance then landed on a stricken opponent who was off the pitch receiving treatment after landing in a heap with Amad. Great shot, Dan, with the injured Bristolian being subbed on 15, going down the tunnel on a stretcher.

After a decent passage of forward play by us on 19, City broke and passed their way through, with Patterson's vital touch diverting it onto his left hand post and thence back across the goal for a corner. Way too close for comfort, but we somehow defended the two corners that followed.

Bang on its 22 minute cue, Warren Hawke the peregrine scattered the gulls, with Michut being chopped down in our half soon after. Clarke's subsequent run was good but the cross way too deep, and with 25 in the click we were still looking to create our first real chance. There were series of fouls on Amad, and eventually Clarke came over from the right to try his luck, but the keeper was fouled. On 31 Amad was nearly through in the middle, but two defenders blocked his path.

Michut got it out to Clarke, who put in a low cross, but our shot skidded wide of the back post on 35 minutes. Better. Roberts then skinned his man on 41 and squirmed into the box, but Joff's shot from a central position was blocked. Eventually it went for a corner on the left but we headed it well over as the rain came down.

Only one added minute was announced which was a bit of a surprise, but we ended the half level which was about right, although City had come closest to scoring with that thing off the post and the two corner-kick scrambles that followed. Ballard had probably seen more of the ball than anyone else, both defensively and in setting our usual three away down the right.

Gary Owers, late of the parishes of both Wearmouth and Ashton Gate made someone happy with the halftime draw.

No changes for the second half, but perhaps Mowbray had whispered words of wisdom. Not to Hume, who was comprehensively skinned almost immediately, but the cutback from the line whizzed harmlessly beyond any City attackers, and Clarke eventually hoofed it clear. Patto then zipped off his line to the left to collect at the feet of an opponent and stuff out the danger. Roberts was then fouled as he cut inside on 48, but floated the free into the keeper's hands. A teasing low cross from Roberts, again, rolled harmlessly and infuriatingly across the box for a throw on 52. Somebody stick a leg out please!

In 56 Michut shot from distance, but it went well wide. Another near thing arrived on 58 as we lost the ball on the left, but from the throw at right back we somehow got it across to Clarke and he simply jinked inside his marker and smashed his shot from the edge high into the far corner. What a beauty, deserving to win any game.

Two minutes later, Gelhardt and Michut made way for O'Nien and Pritch as we brought in fresh legs. Our very own Michael McIntyre dropped into central midfield and Pritch was a direct swap up front(ish). On 67 a lovely break down the left ended with a delightful cross to the right and a handball on that side of the box a few yards from the goal line - but Bristol cleared it. On 69 they swapped their left back along with another two as they sought to stifle the superiority we'd managed to attain.

Surely it was a pen on 73 when Amad whizzed into to box and was clearly sandwiched, but the ref thought otherwise and we got nowt. Another lovely attack on 77 won a corner on the right, which Batth won in the air, but it was the visiting defence's turn to somehow scuff it to safety.

Luke got a yellow on 81 but as he ended up getting a piggy back in stopping the break, I didn't mind. A moment that amused most of us, u expect. With five to go, Clarke and Roberts left the field for Cirkin and Ekwah as we looked to hold on to what we had. If only

There were five minute added, and early in those minutes we allowed a break down our right - and the penalty could be seen coming as their man burst into the box and was hauled down. Patto went the right way, literally, and may even have got a hand to it - but it went in. 1-1. Desperately disappointing for us, desperately exhilarating for the visitors.

You could sense the players' disappointment when the whistle went, but hopefully they'll learn from it - and a draw isn't the end of the world. Think positive, take the point and aim for a win next time out.

Man of the Match? After a quiet-ish first half, Clarke gets my vote. His goal should really have won it, and it's a shame it didn't.