Sunderland 3-3 Middlesbrough
Despite going into half time ahead, Sunderland collapsed at the start of the second period this afternoon at the Stadium of Light before Callum McManaman scored an equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game, with the match eventually finishing 3-3.
The first half was a frantic, entertaining affair filled with controversy and excitement.
From the off Sunderland were right at it and Lee Cattermole, George Honeyman and Joel Asoro set the tone for the rest of the half with their ‘in your face’ approach.
And it didn’t take long before the home side took the lead. Josh Maja flicked on a ball from Adam Matthews and Asoro got in front of Darren Randolph to tuck the ball away and put his side 1-0 up.
Sunderland continued to get stuck into their opponents but their aggression wasn’t appreciated by the referee, and following a strong tackle Chelsea loanee Jake-Clarke Salter deservedly saw red.
This altered the approach of the Black Cats, who had to reshuffle their pack and defend a little more.
As the half wore on Boro rarely threatened, and the game took yet another unexpected turn as Adama Traore - their most dangerous player - saw red after pushing Bryan Oviedo’s face in the box in the build up to a corner.
With proceedings levelled, Sunderland eased back in to the game and were able to see the half out. Paddy McNair unfortunately left the field of play with an injury and was replaced by Jonny Williams, and despite having eight minutes of added time to play the Lads got into the break with their lead intact.
Sunderland’s tempo wasn’t quite the same after the break and Boro immediately got themselves a goal.
With the ball at Patrick Bamford’s feet ten yards out he twisted and turned and finished well past Lee Camp and into the Sunderland net.
Just a minute later disaster struck.
Lee Camp hesitated and then took Britt Assombalonga’s feet away, gifting our opponents a penalty kick that was duly dispatched by former Black Cats midfielder Grant Leadbitter.
Five minutes later the mental nature of the game continued. Some fine work from Bryan Oviedo allowed Jonny Williams the chance to shoot first time, and he scored, putting Chris Coleman’s side right back in the game.
With the crowd firmly behind them Sunderland pushed for a third, bringing on Callum McManaman in place of Josh Maja, with Joel Asoro moving up front.
But it was to no avail as Boro quickly got their third inside twenty minutes, Bamford again sneaking in to allude O’Shea and Camp and give Middlesbrough the lead once more.
Sunderland pushed on for an equaliser, bringing on Aiden McGeady, but Pulis’ side were intent on slowing the game down having taken the advantage - despite this, Callum McManaman saw his strike from range well saved by Darren Randolph with five minutes of normal time left on the clock.
And then, with virtually the last kick of the game, Sunderland equalised through McManaman - who celebrated passionately in front of the dugout of his former manager Tony Pulis before the referee blew for full time.
Sunderland remain bottom of the table, four points off Barnsley in 21st.
Lee Camp, 0/10: At fault for two of the Boro goals. Somehow we’ve found a goalkeeper as bad as Jason Steele. Amazing.
Bryan Oviedo, 6/10: Did well creating the chance when Williams scored.
Jake Clarke-Salter, 1/10: Stupid tackle put us at a temporary disadvantage.
John O’Shea, 1/10: Slow and useless. Bamford had his life for two of the goals.
Lamine Kone, 5/10: Perhaps could have done better on their first. Alright otherwise.
Adam Matthews, 6/10: One of our better players. Got forward well.
Lee Cattermole, 6/10: Was well up for it. Wonder why he doesn’t do it more.
Paddy McNair, 6/10: Battled hard before he went off injured.
George Honeyman, 5/10: Not good, not bad. Lively as always though but isn’t suited to playing in a middle two.
Joel Asoro, 8/10: Yet again our most potent threat, took his goal well.
Josh Maja, 6/10: Held it up well and got the assist for the goal.
(SUB) Jonny Williams, 6/10: Good finish for his goal.
(SUB) Callum McManaman, 7/10: Was a real threat and took his goal well.
(SUB) Aiden McGeady, 5/10: Made Boro a little more wary by being on the pitch.
Man of the Match: Joel Asoro.