Report: Sunderland 0-1 AFC Bournemouth

Sunderland 0-1 AFC Bournemouth

Attendance: 38, 394

Sunderland’s ten-year stay in the Premier League came to end on Saturday following a 1-0 defeat to AFC Bournemouth at the Stadium of Light.

It was a frustrating afternoon on Wearside that ended with a bitter blow, as the Black Cats’ battling performance ended in heartbreak following a late Josh King strike.

The former Manchester United forward struck the woodwork in the opening period, with Jermain Defoe failing to find the net in the opening 45 minutes with the goal at his mercy.

David Moyes’ side continued to fight and they had chances as Fabio Borini and George Honeyman both forced Artur Boruc into action, but King had the final say as the Black Cats’ relegation to the Championship was confirmed.

Sunderland made four enforced changes ahead of the game as Billy Jones, Jason Denayer, Darron Gibson, Lee Cattermole and Jack Rodwell missed out through injury.

Donald Love, Lamine Kone, Steven Pienaar and Fabio Borini came into the starting XI, with 18-year-old Elliot Embleton named on the bench following a fine season with the club’s under-23s.

And Love was instantly thrown in at the deep end.

A short corner caught Pienaar off guard and out of position, with Charlie Daniels driving along the byline and forcing the young right-back into a vital interception to deny Steve Cook an open goal from two yards.

Eddie Howe’s side continued to heap pressure on the Black Cats’ backline in the opening exchanges, and had it not been for a miscue from King on eight minutes – the forward failed to connect with a header from six yards – they would have taken the lead.

Sunderland, meanwhile, were dragged on the front foot by the persistence of Fabio Borini, with the red and white army singing his name throughout the course of the game.

And with 10 minutes on the clock the Italian almost opened the scoring, with Boruc forced into action to palm a thumping drive to safety before Defoe skewed the follow-up wide.

A frenetic opening continued as King fell to ground after weaving into the box, but referee Stuart Atwell waved play on and correctly judged that the contact made by Kone was minimal.

It did little to deter the Cherries and when King lobbed Jordan Pickford the ball seemed destined for the top corner, but the crossbar – and then the post – came to Sunderland’s rescue.

A flurry of chances followed for the Black Cats and the best fell to Defoe, but despite meeting Didier Ndong’s looping header over the top the England international volleyed straight at Boruc.

At the other end, the impressive King had an effort cleared off the line by Love after Afobe’s initial effort was blocked by Javier Manquillo.

And the end-to-end flow of the game continued into the second period, with the on-loan Spaniard edging out Fraser before Boruc denied Borini following an excellent ball from Defoe.

Both sides made changes before the hour mark as George Honeyman and Junior Stanislas entered the fray, and it was the 22-year-old Black Cat who made an immediate impact.

Brilliant play from Defoe dragged Sunderland up the field and after carrying the ball 50 yards he found Borini, with the Italian playing a brilliant reverse ball into Honeyman who tested Boruc at his near post.

With the wind in their sails, the Black Cats pushed forward but as time ticked away a blanket of nervousness descended on Wearside.

And it wasn’t helped by multiple penalty appeals within the space of 60 seconds, as referee Atwell waved played on as King and Khazri tumbled in the 18-yard box.

The Black Cats continued to fight until the final whistle as Borini forced a save and Defoe saw an effort blocked agonisingly wide, but heartbreak followed.

With just two minutes of normal time remaining the Cherries countered and King’s simple finish from close range sent Sunderland into the Championship.

Sunderland: Pickford, Kone, O’Shea, Love, Manquillo, Ndong, Pienaar (Honeyman 55), Khazri, Borini, Anichebe, Defoe.
Mannone, Djilobodji, Lescott, Embleton, Januzaj, Gooch.

AFC Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Pugh (Mousset 82), Arter, Afobe (Stanislas 57), Daniels, Smith, King, Cook, Fraser.
Allsop, Gradel, Smith, Mings, Ibe. 

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