In the 93rd minute of the Premier League contest on Wearside on Saturday, Mark Schwarzer managed to change direction to keep out Stéphane Sessègnon's wickedly deflected shot with an outstretched leg. In contrast, though, Fulham's Australian goalkeeper had no answer when asked how long he might be defying time, the tide and the opposition on the top-flight stage.
"That's a very good question," the Sydneysider pondered in the aftermath of his match-saving feat. "I can't answer it. There is no deadline.
"I have a goal to get to the World Cup in 2014 but there is no age-limit. I look at Brad Friedel. He is older than me and he has told me he will play for two more seasons, so I have to at least match that."
Schwarzer turned 39 last month. Friedel was 40 in May. Both men have some way to go yet before they match John Burridge, who kept goal for Manchester City in the Premier League as a 43-year-old in 1995.
The frame of Schwarzer's goal also frustrated Sunderland on Saturday, keeping out a Kieran Richardson header and a rasping Jack Colback drive as Steve Bruce's side passed up chance after chance in the first half. After petering out in the second period, and being thwarted by Schwarzer at the death, the home side and their manager ended up getting the bird. There were isolated cries of "Bruce out" at the final whistle.
"Let's make no mistake: there's more pressure here than at Bolton or Blackburn or Fulham or Wigan," Bruce said. "That's because the support we have is unique; it's fantastic. It's up to us to give them something to shout about at home."
Sunderland, who face Wigan this weekend, have won just two of 15 League and cup games at the Stadium of Light since New Year's Day.Reuse content