Football Echo Verdict: Four mindless minutes send Sunderland back to the doldrums

Hull's Paul McShane clatters into Sunderland keeper Keiren Westwood, who had to go off injured a few minutes later.

Hull's Paul McShane clatters into Sunderland keeper Keiren Westwood, who had to go off injured a few minutes later.

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THE THEME from the Benny Hill show provided the accompaniment to the half-time entertainment at the KC Stadium.

The DJ’s song selection couldn’t have been any more appropriate.

A fortnight ago, Sunderland served up a flabbergasting second-half collapse at the Liberty Stadium to fracture the already-strained relationship with supporters.

But the opening 45 minutes at Hull yesterday would have been comical, if it wasn’t so tragic.

A static, disjointed, impotent display from Gus Poyet’s side where they failed to test an injury-hit Hull side, who had played 120 minutes at Tottenham three days earlier, was completely overshadowed.

An own goal, a crocked goalkeeper and a pair of red cards within the space of four minutes of injury time... that takes some beating.

Far from building on the derby euphoria, Sunderland once again kung-fu kicked supporters in the teeth.

If there was a derby bounce, it was straight back into the doldrums.

Once again, the prospect of survival looks a far-fetched one.

That Sunderland succumbed to a seventh Premier League defeat out of eight was entirely of their own making.

Poyet would have read the riot act to his side at half-time had they simply gone in 1-0 down after Carlos Cuellar’s own goal stemmed from John O’Shea conceding a cheap throw-in when no-one gave him the necessary shout.

But the inconceivable actions of Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena rendered any hopes of a comeback entirely redundant.

Cattermole had conceded possession cheaply seconds before Andre Marriner gave him his marching orders.

Frustration fogged the former captain’s mind and he lunged in at full pelt on Ahmed Elmohamady.

While the contact was not huge, Cattermole’s tackle was devoid of any control and he was walking off the field before Marriner even had chance to issue the sixth red card of his Sunderland career.

Dossena’s “challenge” four minutes later was far more unpalatable on the eye.

The only baffling aspect of it was how the Italian had the audacity to argue with Marriner after producing a studs-up stamp down the ankle of David Meyler.

If Sunderland deserved any credit whatsoever, it was that they didn’t crumble in the second half, when they could easily have thrown in the towel against insurmountable odds.

Hull were largely limited to efforts from distance as Poyet introduced a 3-4-1 system.

Sunderland actually looked more solid with nine men, while a 45-minute run-out for Wes Brown – to make his first competitive appearance since January 2012 – was one of the few positives to emerge from the afternoon.

Poyet’s men could even have nicked a point too, with Adam Johnson going through one-on-one, while Hull should have been reduced to 10 men themselves late on after a lunge from Robbie Brady which was at least on a par with Cattermole’s.

But as has been the case throughout this season, Sunderland’s ability to shoot themselves in the foot proved fatal.

It’s not quite back to square one, but any hopes of Sunderland winning at Hull and launching a resurgence up the table were thwarted in four mindless minutes.

Twitter @youngsunecho

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