Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 February 2018

Sunderland fans vent their anger towards McClean again

SUNDERLAND 1 NORWICH 1 Martin Hardy

IRELAND'S James McClean suffered more vitriol as he was booed by a section of the Sunderland fans after coming on as a substitute in the 75th minute, in the continuing fallout from the Derryman's revelation via his Twitter account of his fondness for pro-Republican music.

In terms of action on the field, there was a sending-off, a penalty and a penalty that was not given – all for the use of the hand. But there was more than that, far more. There was unrest. The mood on Wearside is undeniably bleak.

Norwich and Sunderland may yet come to cherish the point they each earned from a truly dire game of football, but certainly for the home side that was not the case, either during or in the immediate aftermath of a game where the central figure was referee Chris Foy.

Foy sent off Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn in the 29th minute for racing outside his area to try to stop Danny Graham, who had got behind the Canaries' defence. Bunn put his arms up, Graham did not actually touch Michael Turner's attempted clearance and the ball struck the side of the goalkeeper's body and the underside of his arm.

Foy took his time and produced a red card. Bunn saw the same colour, hurling his gloves off in fury as he finally left the pitch.

Norwich were ahead by that point, and deservedly so, Ireland midfielder Wes Hoolahan having headed them ahead from a corner three minutes before the dismissal amid shambolic marking.

Ten minutes later John O'Shea sent the ball forward. Sebastien Bassong had little to worry about but he chested the ball onto his outstretched left arm and Sunderland had a penalty, which Craig Gardner smashed home.

At that point came the opportunity for Sunderland to ease what are now serious relegation worries. They did not take it despite playing for more than an hour against 10 men. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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