Sunderland flop seals Newcastle’s fate
Fair to say that Steven Fletcher was one of the more disastrous of Sunderland’s signings in recent years, when up against some pretty tough competition as well.
Wolves robbed the Mackems of around £13m when they bought him in 2012 and in four seasons he contributed only 23 league goals in that time.
Eventually leaving for nothing after a loan spell at Marseille, Steven Fletcher is back to his level in the second tier.
The striker scored his ninth Championship goal of the season at Hillsborough yesterday and it eventually proved the winner, with Shelvey’s late strike little consolation.
It was shocking marking from Diame and especially Jamaal Lascelles as a simple throw in delivered into the box was headed home by the one-time Sunderland striker.
No doubt there were celebrations on Wearside as it hit the back of the net, with the Mackems forgetting what it feels like to score one themselves, with it being over nine weeks since they managed a Premier League goal.
Steven Fletcher kind of sums up the Mackems in recent times, not really good enough and relying on Newcastle to help them out. Fletcher scored in two derby wins over Newcastle, when Sunderland won 2-1 on 27 October 2013 and then last season in the Coloccini sending off match when the Mackems won 3-0.
Rafa Benitez won’t have been happy to see his team lose to two simple high balls delivered into the box.
However, if truth be told Sheffield Wednesday should have been well ahead before they actually scored, with Steven Fletcher alone missing what could have been a first half hat-trick.
Despite Newcastle having such a good season overall and surely still on the path to automatic promotion, Wednesday joined both Fulham and Blackburn to become a trio of clubs to take all six points off Newcastle this season.
In the last promotion season under Chris Hughton, nobody managed that feat as United were undefeated at St James Park with 18 wins and five draws.
Rafa Benitez and his team still have an impressive record of 13 wins, four draws and only four defeats from their 21 away games so far.
However, after equalling the all-time club record for away wins with victory at Huddersfield five weeks ago, it looked only a question of when, not if, that record would be broken.
Newcastle now have only two opportunities, at Cardiff and Ipswich to make that happen now.
As I said above, I have no doubt we will still get promoted, but would be nice for Rafa, the players, and the fans, for the season to be seen off in some style.
“The three points were the most important thing.
“We’ve had two good performances against Newcastle now this season, we all worked for each other.
“I’m glad that Tom (Lees) got on the scoresheet as well because he’s been out for a while and he’s a top professional.
“I’m glad I got the goal in the end.
“I’ve missed chances in my career but I always know I’m going to get another one.
“We’ve got another big game Friday and now we’ll look forward to that.”
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