Sam Allardyce allays John O’Shea play-off fears

Sunderland 3 Newcastle 0: John O’Shea was watching from the sidelines yesterday as Sunderland scored the goals that secured their first Premier League win of the season and is now a concern ahead of the Ireland’s Euro 2016 play-off against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sam Allardyce allays John O’Shea play-off fears

O’Shea is suspended for the first leg, but the prospect of him featuring in the November 16 second leg looked slim when he limped off in the 37th minute.

But Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce afterwards allayed fears that O’Shea’s injury absence could be a long one.

“We won’t know until we scan him in a couple of days. He feels it’s not a serious hamstring, he just feels it’s what we call a tweak,” Allardyce told Newstalk.

Speaking about the injuries picked up by O’Shea, Younès Kaboul and Ola Toivonen, Allardyce added:

“I think we’ll be lucky to get anyone back for next week, but hopefully they’ll only miss one game (at Everton).

“Certainly from a defensive point of view, we’ve probably got enough centre-halves, but from a midfield point of view, we lose a very important player to us.”

One thing in O’Shea’s favour is that he quickly signalled he was injured while running back towards his own goal and was taken off immediately for treatment.

One moment, one incident, shaped the outcome of this derby and enabled Allardyce to extend a sequence of results that he describes as “bizarre”.

Allardyce, once in charge at Newcastle, became the fourth Sunderland manager to beat their Tyne-Wear rivals in his second game in charge after losing the first, but even he accepted that his team rode their luck when they were awarded a penalty at the end of the first half after Fabricio Coloccini barged into Steven Fletcher.

Coloccini was sent off, although keeper Rob Elliot looked certain to beat Fletcher to the ball, Adam Johnson scored from the spot and 10-man Newcastle conceded two more goals in the second-half.

The way Newcastle dominated the first 45 minutes only darkened the mood of manager Steve McClaren, who was furious over referee Robert Madley’s decision seconds after he had turned down a penalty appeal at the other end. “I’m angry and disappointed in two decisions that have cost us a game we totally dominated. It was a perfect performance in the first half until the goal. We got the crowd irritated, there were no chances against us and we created opportunities.”

Coloccini, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jack Colback, Moussa Sissoko and Georginio Wijnaldum all had chances, while Lee Cattermole’s challenge on Wijnaldum might have brought a penalty before Madley did give the contentious spot-kick at the other end.

Allardyce said: “I did think it was a foul. If he hadn’t made contact, I think Steven would have scored with his left foot. It was a bit harsh to send him off, but that’s the rule and we took full advantage. We got a harsh decision against us at West Brom last week and this one went for us. The rules say it’s a sending-off, but for me the penalty should be enough. 11 v 11 is what we all want to see.”

McClaren disagreed. “I have never seen Fabricio so angry,” he said. “The decision was wrong and unbelievable. Refs are part and parcel of the game. They can affect the result and have done today. I’ve seen lots of challenges like that in every game and they are never given. It was a double whammy — a penalty and down to 10-men.”

SUNDERLAND (4-2-3-1):

Pantilimon 7; Jones 7, O’Shea 5 (Coates 38,6), Kaboul 6, Yedlin 5; Cattermole 5, M’Vila 6, Toivonen 5 (Defoe 36,6) Johnson 6, Lens 6 (Larsson 82,5); Fletcher 6.

NEWCASTLE (4-2-3-1):

Elliot 6; Janmaat 6, Mbemba 6, Coloccini 5, Dummett 5 (Thauvin 78,5); Colback 5 (Anita 49), Tiote 6 (Lascelles 46,5); Sissoko 6, Perez 6, Wijnaldum 7, Perez 6; Mitrovic 7.


R Madley 6.

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