Alexis Sanchez made the most of howlers from Wes Brown and Vito Mannone as Arsenal claimed a 2-0 victory at Sunderland. Press Association The Chile international needed no second invitation after Brown scuffed an attempted back-pass straight into his path and looked on in horror as he raced almost half the length of the pitch before beating goalkeeper Mannone with ease. And there was worse to come for the Italian, who handed Sanchez a second in injury-time as he made a mess of a back-pass. Brown looked to have the ball under control just inside his own half and turned neatly away from Sanchez in order to play it back to Mannone. However, his disastrous miskick allowed the Chilean to run through on goal and delicately chip the advancing keeper. Cazorla and Arteta both went close as the Gunners looked to kill the game off before half-time, although the home side managed to escape further damage. Whatever Poyet said during the break appeared to have an effect as his players returned in far more determined mood and set up camp much higher up the pitch. He was forced into a 50th-minute reshuffle when lone striker Steven Fletcher limped off to be replaced by Connor Wickham, and the newcomer arrived with his team enjoying their most productive period of the game to that point with midfielder Jack Rodwell forcing a save from Wojciech Szczesny with a firm header two minutes later. For the first time in the game, the Arsenal rearguard found itself under concerted pressure, although the home side’s frailty at the back invited further pressure with Brown almost serving possession up to Chambers before Van Aanholt’s aimless clearance allowed Sanchez to test Mannone from distance. Larsson warmed Szczesny’s hands with a 65th-minute drive from 25 yards and substitute Jozy Altidore looped a header towards goal from Van Aanholt’s inviting cross with 14 minutes remaining. However, the United States international fluffed his lines two minutes later when, having been picked out with a raking long pass by fellow substitute Jordi Gomez, he scuffed a volley harmlessly across the penalty area. Szczesny very nearly handed Van Aanholt on 81st-minute opportunity to level when, fearing he was about to step outside his area, he headed the ball straight to the full-back wide on the left, although the Dutchman’s long-range effort sailed wide of the far post with Mertesacker racing back to cover for his keeper. But disaster struck at the death when Mannone failed to control Buckley’s back-pass and Sanchez added a second from close range. Once again, the Black Cats, who scored three own goals in last Saturday’s 8-0 horror show at Southampton, were made to pay for self-inflicted wounds despite launching a second-half fightback in front of a crowd of 44,449 at the Stadium of Light. The home side’s humiliation on the south cost had cast long shadows and head coach Gus Poyet sent his team out demanding a reaction, although that was always going to be easier said than done against an Arsenal team packed with talent, although depleted by injury and suspension. However, the Uruguayan could only look on helplessly as his players initially struggled to shake off the trauma of their Southampton nightmare. The Gunners, predictably, retained possession with ease as Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini supplied the excellent Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of them to repeatedly stretch the home defence. By contrast, the Black Cats at times treated the ball as if it were a live hand-grenade as they retreated ever deeper towards Mannone. However, for all their early dominance, the visitors struggled to create clear openings with former Sunderland loanee Danny Welbeck sending a swerving, dipping 15th-minute effort on to the roof of the net after Sanchez had fired wide from distance. Poyet’s men only rarely managed to venture into enemy territory with the left flank their only real outlet, and while winger Will Buckley tested defender Calum Chambers on several occasions, it was full-back Patrick van Aanholt who forced an important 25th-minute block from Per Mertesacker after running on to Sebastian Larsson’s pass. But it was Mertesacker’s clearance which indirectly led to the opening goal.
GENEVA, N.Y. – The sense of relief went coursing through the entire Syracuse sideline as the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard.No player felt the pressure lifted more than Bobby Wardwell.A six-goal SU halftime lead deteriorated to one with nine seconds left in the game, but Wardwell evaded disaster. Despite a sharp performance by the Hobart offense in the second half, Syracuse’s freshman goalkeeper was able to hold on and survive. Wardwell and the No. 14 Orange escaped Boswell Field with a 13-12 victory over Hobart on Tuesday. After an imminent Orange blowout became a near defeat, the Syracuse goaltender did just enough to preserve the lead. Teammates swarmed Wardwell in front of the net to break the tension.‘It was pretty nerve-racking,’ Wardwell said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWardwell stood tall in the first half, making seven saves on 11 shots to help the Orange (7-5, 3-1 Big East) jump out to a 10-4 lead at halftime. But that confidence quickly diminished as Hobart (3-8, 1-3 Eastern College Athletic Conference)forced the issue on offense to begin the third quarter.Hobart turned its first possession of the second half into immediate results. Statesmen attack Cam Stone found Jake McHenry on the left doorstep 35 seconds into the third quarter to cut SU’s lead to 10-5.‘We had a stop, but they were able to feed it into the crease and score, and I think that started the momentum,’ SU defender Brian Megill said. ‘As soon as a team gets energy and a little bit of confidence, they’re going to make runs, and we have to stop those runs and keep playing composed.’The Statesmen began to beat Wardwell in ways that they could not in the first half.In the first quarter, Wardwell made back-to-back saves on Stone and midfielder Taylor Vanderbeek as both Hobart players tiptoed the right hash mark and ripped tight shots toward the right post. Wardwell hugged the post and blocked down both shots with ease.Wardwell said he lacked the same strong body positioning in the third quarter that he had in the first half. With about five minutes left in the third quarter, Stone squeezed a shot between Wardwell and the left post for a goal. It was the second of a three-goal run for Hobart at the end of the third quarter to cut SU’s lead to 11-9.‘In the second half I just wasn’t seeing the ball as well, but it happens,’ Wardwell said. ‘It’s an up-and-down game. It’s a game of runs, and they got their run in the third quarter.’The Syracuse goaltender made just four saves on 12 shots in the second half as the Statesmen threatened SU’s lead. Hobart pushed through three more goals in the fourth quarter, getting within one with nine seconds left.‘We got up by a lot of goals. We were up by six goals at the end of the half, and I think we came out a little bit flat in the second,’ Wardwell said. ‘I know I was kind of relaxed.’The Syracuse offense struggled to provide any relief for the SU goalie in the second half. Hobart goaltender Peter Zonino transformed into a force, making 10 second-half saves to keep the Statesmen within striking distance.And the shaky performance in net in the second half continued for Wardwell. A costly turnover behind the net with less than four minutes to play left Wardwell stranded out of the net. Sam Miller dove in front to connect with an empty net.Attack Alex Love fired a shot into the net with time winding down, and Hobart ran out of time.Wardwell did just enough to earn his third win of the season in four starts.‘He’s seen every different kind of game thus far, and he’s learning and growing from that,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘He’s pretty courageous, and when he doesn’t see it, he tries to get his body in front of it, and he’ll get better from this.’[email protected] Comments Published on April 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+