Date: 19th December 2010 at 12:36pm
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There are a number of Gordons I don`t like. Tony Gordon, the serial killer of Coronation Street, Commissioner Gordon from Batman, Flash Gordon (at least the 1980`s version), Gordon the Gopher, who I would gladly have taken a mallet to if I was in the broom cupboard, and Gordon Gekko. From reading the BBC text and listening to the Five Live commentary yesterday, I was ready to put Craig Gordon in this list for pulling off the save of the century. I`ve seen it. It`s not all that. So he`s not on my list.

OK, let`s get one thing straight off. The save was a good save, yes. But those who know about these kind of things, i.e. other goalkeepers, will tell you that they have all pulled of similar, and better, saves. If the ball had fallen to someone other than a central defender who has scored more own goals against Bolton than goals for, the ball would have been in the net.

For a start, it was hit back towards the goalkeeper and the speed of it had been taken out by Knight`s toe poke. This allowed Gordon to reach his hand back. After that, it became a perfunctory save, as most goalkeepers would have been able to get the ball over the bar. People are likening it to the Gordon Banks save in 1970, or Jimmy Montogomery`s double save in the 1973 FA Cup Final. It was nothing of the sort. In fact, I`ve seen Jussi do better on a regular basis.

It always amazes me when commentators go overboard and saves that goalkeepers make, when the majority of the time they have positioned themselves to save the ball in the first place. This is because goalkeepers are a strange breed and do not become co-commentators. Good saves are those when you have to turn your body back away from where you were going in the first place. Gordon didn`t do that. Good save and game changer that it was.

The game started with an unexpected change, Petrov moving to the right and Lee dropping to the bench. Match of the Day said it was to give him a rest. I`m not sure it was needed. I can`t think that it is any coincidence that our past three games have yielded three points, just as the manager starts shuffling his pack. Petrov for Taylor at Citeh produced a headless chicken routine from the Bulgarian until he was brought off, and as soon as he was and Taylor replaced him, we got more joy down the left side. Last week, with Mark Davies in for Muamba, we failed to make any impact until Davies was sent off, and now this week, Lee is replaced by Petrov and we again fail to make any impact.

If the manager was worried about Lee getting tired, he should have done something about it before now, rather than give him a rest just as we play four games in a week and a bit. The right hand side is less effective with a left footer on it. If Lee is tired, Moreno should be tried, rather than going for Petrov who, despite his couple of goals, is still showing up late for the party.

This does not excuse the generally lacklustre performance all round. Most of the action could be found on the sidelines, with Steve Bruce doing her Fergie impression, jumping up and down when Gary Cahill took the ball, but went through Darren Bent. A yellow card was the very most that the tackle deserved, but Bruce went apoplectic, and received some choice words from St. Owen. Cattermole then fouled Stuart Holden and got the same reward for breaking down one of Bolton`s more promising moods, sending Bruce even more red faced than his former manager.

Maybe he`s been taking lessons off Jason Roberts?

Bolton started well, Matty Taylor got to the bye line and put a cross in with SuperKevinDavies`s effort being blocked by the Sunderland defence. Jussi pulled off a good save after some good work by Gyan, but the game was as cold as the weather until Sunderland scored. Bent did his one good thing of the game, Jussi pushed the ball out and Welbeck ran past the sleeping Zat Knight to head the ball. Cahill, standing on the line slipped, Jussi ran back and ended up on his bum, and Sunderland scored.

Reading that back, it sounds like an episode of Keystone Cops.

Bolton had chances in the second half. Petrov, before he was hauled off midway through the second half for Klasnic, hit one over the bar and Klasnic himself had a host of chances, highlighted on MOTD, one of which he should have taken. The seeming lack of effort was highlighted when Cohen came on, surely the ulitimate damning of a performance, while Moreno, Lee and Blake were all left on the bench.

Just a thought. Robbie Blake is still alive isn`t he?

Lee Cattermole should have been sent off for an ugly challenge on Johan Elmander which was red card worthy, never mind a second yellow. If the Gordon save had gone in and Cattermole had been sent off, would it have made a difference? It`s hard to tell. What is easy to tell is that, with Chelsea and Liverpool coming up during Christmas, three points against the Baggies on Boxing Day are now essential.

 

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