Season Review: October

by Ashley Houghton

Our look back on the 2012-13 campaign continues.

Sunderland’s unbeaten start to the 2012-13 campaign was ended in October as the Black Cats’ were one of 14 Barclays Premier League sides to return from Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium with no points.

Goals from Aleksandar Kolarov, Sergio Aguero and James Milner secured a 3-0 win for the Citizens, who also ruined the Wearside outfit’s record that had seen them not go behind in a league game prior to the City defeat.

Belgian stopper Simon Mignolet spoke to after the defeat to City, conceding that the champions’ early goal was the decisive factor in the game.

“In games like this you want to keep it goalless as long as you can, but by conceding early it meant a tough game got even tougher,” the stopper explained.

Days after the defeat in Manchester, Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher was named Barclays Player of the Month for September; the Scottish international notched five goals in four league games as the Black Cats picked up six points.

Young midfielder Billy Knott began his loan spell with Woking; the former Chelsea man went on to impress at the Kingfield Stadium, scoring eight goals in 20 appearances.

After an international break, Sunderland’s next game was the visit of rivals Newcastle United to the Stadium of Light.

And, like Manchester City in the Black Cats’ previous game, an early goal from Yohan Cabaye gave the Magpies the lead.

However, Sunderland replied with the help of Newcastle’s Demba Ba, who headed past his own keeper with just five minutes remaining.

The hosts dominated possession as Cheick Tiote saw red midway through the first half but they couldn’t find a breakthrough as only two of their 21 efforts on goal hit the target.

In reflection, on-loan defender Danny Rose said he was overwhelmed by the electric atmosphere at the SoL.

“I’m not just saying this because I’m at Sunderland now, but that was the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced,” the England under-21 international explained.

Following the derby draw, the Black Cats bolstered their attacking options with free agent James McFadden joining up on a short-term deal.

Sunderland’s third game of the month was a trip to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City who hadn’t lost on their own patch since the Wearsiders’ last visit when a James McClean goal proved the decider.

Unfortunately, the Black Cats couldn’t repeat that feat, though they did earn a valuable point against the Potters with Simon Mignolet turning out another man-of-the-match performance.

Adam Johnson was pleased to pick up a point in Staffordshire, branding it a point gained rather than a point lost.

Ahead of the Capital One Cup clash with local rivals Middlesbrough, former Boro man Lee Cattermole committed his future to Sunderland by signing a three-year-deal with the club.

Though, the club captain will have been disappointed with the first game since his new deal as the Black Cats rounded off the month with a 1-0 home reverse to Middlesbrough.

Scott McDonald scored the only goal of the game as Sunderland lost their first Wear-Tees derby since 2006.

Jack Colback spoke of his devastation after the Black Cats failed to reach the final eight of the Capital One Cup against their rivals.

“It was a massive opportunity for us and we’ve let ourselves and the fans down with the performance,” Colback said after the game.