Football: Roker's last post

Sunderland 1 Liverpool 0
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The Independent Online
In the first League match at Roker Park 99 years ago, Liverpool were beaten 1-0 and last night's emotional farewell to the old ground produced the same result. Next season will see Sunderland at a new stadium, but back in the old League.

Yet relegation from the Premiership did not dampen the celebrations last night. The gates were closed before the kick-off and stars of the past, including the club's player of the century, Charlie Hurley, and Bob Stokoe, the manager of the 1973 FA Cup-winning team, were trotted out to rapturous applause from the 22,657 in attendance.

An inability to score was one of the reasons for Sunderland's fall, but after 31 minutes John Mullin turned deftly in the penalty box to beat Tony Warner with a fierce, angled drive.

Robbie Fowler missed Liverpool's best chance, firing over from close range, and a thundering drive from John Barnes hit the inside of the post with the goalkeeper David Preece well beaten. The differences in the clubs' circumstances a century on from that first defeat are now significant, however. For Liverpool there is a summer to regroup and prepare for the Premiership; Sunderland can only strive to return.