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Match Report: Sunderland 2-2 Southampton - Johnson Completes Comeback

Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson were the goalscorers as Sunderland fought back from an early 2-0 deficit.

Adam Johnson equalizes
Adam Johnson equalizes
Chris Brunskill

Sunderland once again showed the fighting spirit that Gus Poyet has instilled in the team since he took over, as they came back from an abject first half performance and two goals down to snatch a draw against Southampton.

Sunderland started very slowly, with Southampton completely controlling the game and the home side failing to put them under any real pressure. With Poyet's side barely getting a kick, Southampton deservedly took the lead after only five minutes as Jay Rodriguez controlled well on the edge of the box and with little pressure on him struck a volley into the bottom corner of Vito Mannone's goal, with the goalkeeper helpless.

Southampton could perhaps have been forgiven if they had started sluggishly considering the turmoil surrounding the club in the past week but there was no signs of that and in fact it was the home side who couldn't seem to get going, with sloppy passes, lack of pressure and all round poor play blighting the first half hour.

The visitors had chances to 2-0 up when Adam Johnson deflected Luke Shaw's cross onto the post. Ricky Lambert could only fire wide from Morgan Schneiderlin's pass and Wes Brown almost gifted Rodriguez a second goal with a heavy touch but luckily the Southampton striker could only fire tamely at Mannone on the half-hour mark. A couple of minutes later they did get a two goal advantage, as Dejan Lovren got ahead of Brown and expertly volleyed in Steven Davis' corner.

Earlier in the season, that may have killed Sunderland off but we are made of much sterner stuff now and we hit back immediately, as Johnson found Borini's run into the box and the Italian striker fired past Artur Boruc, who managed to get a touch on the ball but couldn't keep it out. The home side upped the tempo after that goal but apart from a couple of corners, couldn't find a way past the resolute Southampton defence before the half-time whistle blew.

Southampton started the second half in much the same way as they did the first, with Davis, Shaw, Calum Chambers, Rodriguez and Lovren all going close but any shots they got in target couldn't find a way past the impressive Mannone.

Poyet made two substitutes on the hour mark in an attempt to change the game, with Jack Colback and Craig Gardner replacing Lee Cattermole and the ineffective Seb Larsson and it made a difference immediately, with both players hassling and harrying the visitors, which suddenly gave the home side hope. Borini thought he had scored from Gardner's pass but the linesman correctly ruled the goal out for offside.

Gardner was the provider again with twenty minutes remaining, as he found Johnson on the right and the in-form winger cut past Shaw and smashed a rising shot past Boruc to equalize for the home side. That was Johnson's seventh goal of the season and the fourth in a week.

Sunderland looked the most likely winners from that point but Gardner and fellow substitute Steven Fletcher saw shots saved by Boruc before Southampton suffered two bad injuries within seconds of each other, as Lovren and Gaston Ramirez were both stretchered off. That seemed to suck the life out of the game as both sides struggled to get a grip of the game and, despite seven minutes of injury time, neither side came close to scoring again,

Overall it was a good point considering we had to come from two goals down after only half an hour but Poyet will no doubt be concerned with the first half performance, as well as some individuals. A huge improvement will be needed on Wednesday if we are to hope to get to Wembley and the club have two weeks to sign reinforcements, which one this display, are much needed.

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