Football Supporters’ Society returns in style with trip to Stadium of Light

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After a few months away, Saturday saw Durham University’s Football Supporters’ Society continue from where it had left off with a trip to the Stadium of Light to watch Sunderland take on Stoke – who, like their hosts, have also started slowly this season.

In front of a crowd of almost 43,000, the Black Cats, boosted by the return of Steven Fletcher, started the brighter of the two sides and took the lead almost immediately with the excellent Fletcher looping a ball into the middle for Connor Wickham to nod home in front of the sizeable DUFSS following of more than 200.

Minutes later the visitors were level with Charlie Adam slotting home at the end of a blistering counter initiated by the pace of Victor Moses, on loan from Chelsea.

With two early goals and a highly frenetic start to the game, the £7 forked out for both match ticket and return coach journey was proving to be the bargain it had always threatened to be.

With Stoke unable to soak in the high-octane start, Fletcher himself regained Sunderland’s lead, stooping to head home Jordi Gomez’s pinpoint cross.

In doing so, the Scot netted his first goal since December 2013 – a staggering 13 games and 280 days ago. Both sides had further opportunities in a first half full of energy, if not the quality expected from a Premier League game.

Steven N’Zonzi had the chance to level matters for the visitors only to shoot straight at the impressive Vito Mannone in goal for Sunderland whilst Seb Larsson’s attempted cross caught the chilly breeze, forcing Asmir Begovic to make a smart stop.

The second half saw a change from the energetic huff and puff of the first 45 minutes. Gus Poyet’s side sat in contently, waiting for the opportunity to kill the game off on the break.

Stoke, meanwhile, attempted to bulldoze what was becoming an ever-increasingly stubborn wall of red and white stripes.

Substitutes Bojan and Assaidi combined to set up N’Zonzi who, once again, shot wastefully and Mannone held everything that was thrown at him.

The Potters would live to rue their missed opportunities when the often cumbersome Wickham began a canter into the Stoke half.

He went on and on, hurdling challenges like Grand National fences before squaring the ball across the six-yard box.

Like buses, Fletcher was once again on hand to score, sparing the blushes of Jack Rodwell who had struck thin air when it seemed impossible to miss and, in doing so; put the gloss on a satisfying afternoon for the northeast side.

Overall, a cracking day out for DUFSS – very much a University society on the rise, well supported by an excellent turnout of students.

 

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