Football: Ball clears blue air

Wolves 0 Sunderland 1 Ball 88 Attendance: 27,502
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The Independent Online
IT IS reliably reported that in a new fly-on-the-wall documentary the Sunderland manager, Peter Reid, delivers frequent expletives. During one half-time tirade, disappointed with the efforts of his charges, he is seen in the programme, Premier Passions, swearing 19 times in 45 seconds.

If this is a yardstick, the air in his side's dressing-room during the interval at Molineux yesterday will have been bluer than the ocean. Reid might easily have taken the count to above 30 and there were enough weaknesses to consider that 50 would not be out of the question.

On the other hand, the greater accuracy and continued perseverance of the second half, especially the crisply struck late half-volley which gave his side victory, could have yielded eloquent English usually only witnessed in Jane Austen novels.

Wolves and their calm, reasoned manager, Mark McGhee, are not involved in Premier Passions, but it is a fair bet that the locked dressing-room at the end was not a place suitable for charm-school graduates.

Sunderland inflicted their second successive home defeat by a solitary goal and their third of the season when Kevin Ball hit his 88th-minute winner from the edge of the area into the roof of the net. This did not look likely in the early stages when Wolves swarmed forward and carved out a series of clear openings.Wolves could have scored several times in the first 25 minutes.

From a multitude of attacks perhaps the two best chances fell to Dougie Freedman who shot wide and to Robbie Keane who was denied by Lionel Perez.

Sunderland's passing was so abject that they did not mount a meaningful attack until half an hour was gone. But this, and whatever Reid said at half-time, sparked a decent riposte. Allan Johnston had hit a post before hitting the bar from the free-kick which eventually brought the goal and no doubt deleted a few expletives.