Sunderland Throwback – The R’s Steele the Points as Teesside’s Finest Excels Himself

Matt Keeling takes us back, kicking and screaming, to March 2018 for our last league outing at Loftus Road. What a day!

Oh boy, the 2017/18 Championship season. If, quite sensibly, you’ve chosen to wipe most of this from your memory then don’t worry! I’m here to remind you of some of the highlights, including this one – which to be honest is arguably my favourite. Truly the times of our lives.

Having not won any of the last eight games, Sunderland headed to Loftus Road full to the brim of confidence. The Black Cats were of course managed by former Wales manager and not prick Chris Coleman, and the Welshman had led the team to a measly four wins from his 20 league games in charge. John O’Shea and Lamine Kone, flanked by Adam Matthews and Brian Oviedo made up the back four.

If that made you shudder, Lee Cattermole playing behind, Jonny Williams and Ovie Ejaria probably makes you want to wish I’d not started this article. George Honeyman, Ashley Fletcher and Joel Asoro made up the rest of the outfield players – all of which were in front of Jason Steele.

To be fair the first half was pretty uneventful, and I can’t actually remember anything of note that happened. But just you wait, the events four minutes after half time sure made up for that. On the way to the game, such was the gallows humour at the nature of the abomination of a season, myself and my good friend Jake had the conversation of “wouldn’t it be funny if Steele like, got sent off or something?”

You know how it is, no signal, we forgot etc etc. Anyway, that would be so farfetched even by the standards of that season, it was all a pipe dream surely?

Well apparently, not. Four minutes unto the second half, there was a big clearance from just a man from QPR. Not sure who it was, it doesn’t matter really. “Isn’t the goalkeeper a long way out of his box? He should get back inside the… He’s going to have to head thi… Just don’t handle it because you’ll get sen… The goalkeeper has been sent off”. Yep, remarkably Jason Steele saw a red card firmly brandished in his direction with 41 minutes of the game to play, thus spelling the end of any possible three points.

To make matters somehow worse, Joel Asoro was withdrawn so that the substitute goalkeeper could come on. The substitute goalkeeper being Lee Camp. At this point I should point out that I found the whole situation completely and utterly hilarious which, unfortunately for me a man in the row in front, seemingly at the end of his admittedly very short tether, didn’t. “You wanna stop f****g laughing at this or I’ll kick your f*****g head in”.

I did, rather quickly stop laughing but not before his even more annoyed, and even balder friend had given me the glare from the inner workings of hell.

Of course we went on to lose the game, with Eberechi Eze notching the only goal after about an hour. Sunderland had not a single attempt on target in this game and Camp actually came the closest to doing this, as it so very nearly got on the end of a corner in the last minute.

Had that happened, and Lee Camp had scored for Sunderland, there is no question I would have fallen out of the stand.

Thank God he didn’t, so I am still here to recount this tale of a simply wonderful afternoon in South West London.

Wouldn’t it be funny if Anthony Patterson got sent off tomorrow?

See you for a pint in London?