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Sunderland went to Crewe, as you do, and, on a damp but warm night, swept aside a game but lame home side who, on relative form, will probably be two divisions below us come the end of May. A brace from Stewart, and OG, and an emphatic finish from Dajaku (excuse spelling) sees us in second spot, a point shy of Plymouth and with two games in hand. A nice position to be in after a properly emphatic victory, and what a nice night it was.

Having made the journey across the country by train and got ourselves checked into the jolly holiday inn, along with quite a few other Sunderland fans, Ron and I hit the highspots, picking up other Mackems as we visited the British Lion (aka The Pig) and the new Ebenezer’s, where we fell into conversation a lad whose dad had been physio at Crewe way back, and who left us with drinks in the pump. Smashing fella. As had become the norm, it rained, but nowt like Pompey or Lincoln, so by the time we took up our seats in the Mornflake Stadium’s Whitby Morrison Ice Cream Van Stand (I kid you not), in the front row, we were barely damp. In our natty blue and yellow away kits, we attacked the end to our left (we were in the side, for reference) and from the off never really looked in any sort of trouble.


Winchester Doyle Flanagan Cirkin

O’Nien Neil

McGeady Pritchard

O’Brien Stewart

...not exactly that line-up, but those people, and Pritch buzzed about like.... O’Nien, while O’Nien and Neil moved the ball across the middle to bring Geads in from the left. Considering how small they all looked at King’s Cross after the Gillingham game, they looked pretty big when say below pitch level. Pritch was on corner duty, and duly slung one in for Flan to attempt a repeat of his winner on Saturday, but Will Jaaskelainen, son of Flappyhands, was equal to it in the Crewe goal. A promising first attempt, though, and it bode (boded?) well for the rest of the game, with O’B bursting through the centre to lay it to Pritch, but the shot was again saved. This preceded a little spell pf possession by the home side, with a few sort of half chances that didn’t really cause the Hoff any bother, and we mopped things up comfortably. Geads was enjoying his return to the side as captain, jinking away down the left several times before he managed to get the ball to O’B, but again the effort was saved. We were looking good, but being Sunderland fans, wondered if the breakthrough would ever come.

Haway man, we’d only been going twenty minutes! Soon after that, we went deservedly ahead, although Crewe did it for us in comedy fashion when big Ross got it wide to Pritch, and when the ball came into the box their defender Thomas swung a leg and sliced it horribly into his own net. I’ll take that for starters, thank you very much. We were moving the ball about in impressive style, and Crewe must have been wondering what we were doing in the same division, such was the pace with which we got it from back to front and out wide. It really was a delight to watch, and that clever play was rewarded with the second goal when O’B, Pritch, and Neil swapped passes to carve open the left side of the home defence and set young Dan into acres of space, from where he clipped a cross into the box for the towering Stewart to head home. A lovely goal, and with six or seven minutes of the half still to play, in which we nearly got a third when Geads found O’B, but his shot was too high. There was a single added minute, in which we in the seats simply smiled and wondered when the next goal would arrive. Let’s just say we were a very happy bunch during the break.

No changes for the second half for us, but we didn’t really need any, and continued in the same vein as the first half, as we continued to take the game towards Son of Flappyhands. Ten minutes into the half, when Pritch put a corner to the front post, Doyle won the header, and the Loch Ness Drogba’s leg was too long for the home defence as he whacked it home. 3-0, happy, happy, days. His assists for the evening complete, Pritch made was for the more direct Dajaku, who took up position on the left. Cirkin, who’d had a fine evening but had been booked, made way for Hume soon after as we looked to give Denver as much game time as possible. More patient play followed, as you’d expect when you’re three up away from home, but Mandron did get in a decent effort for the home side – but not decent enough to invoke the Former Player Curse, and the Hoff did his job, Then Neil set Dajaku away down the left, and simply put his head down and sprinted forty yards to the edge of the box and whacked a left-footer inside the near post before SOF could get down to it. A real beaut.

Geads, smiling at a job well done, was replaced by Wright – as if we need any shoring up at the back, but why not? – and the home side replaced the unfortunate and presumably distraught Thomas with the enormous Sass-Davies (I’m not making that name up), who saw an awful lot of the ball as we pressed forward and the Crewe tried to get something back. We saw out that last quarter of an hour with a mix of relaxation and the occasional burst forward, but the game was well beyond Crewe’s reach by then, Four added minutes were found, we passed it about in search of Stewart’s hat-trick, and when the whistle went there were manic celebrations in the away side as well as on the pitch. We were treated to LJ’s punching of the air again, which I’ll be more than happy to see every weekend. A tremendous, emphatic victory which will send signals to the rest of our league that we mean business.

Man of the Match? Has to be up front, although nobody did anything wrong in any position. Stewart might have got two goals (and won me a few quid) but I think that O’Brien’s constant movement and impressive work-rate gets him my award. Onwards and upwards.