Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Match Report:Sunderland 0 Blackpool 2

DJ Campbell grabbed a second-half double as Blackpool made Sunderland pay for a host of missed chances to secure a fifth away league win of the season.
Asamoah Gyan, Darren Bent and Danny Welbeck all squandered good openings and visiting goalkeeper Richard Kingson made a number of excellent stops.
But Campbell shot home from Ian Evatt's headed flick to make it 1-0.
Bent hit the bar with a fine free-kick but Campbell added a second in injury time from Matt Phillips's low cross.
But Sunderland will be left scratching their heads at the result after creating enough chances to have won two games in a refreshingly open and frantic first period.
Welbeck, Bent, Jordan Henderson and Gyan all spurned at least two opportunities apiece as the hosts dominated possession and territory.
Bent twice sent efforts wide of the far post after cutting in from the left, Wellbeck missed his kick from an inviting centre and failed to get on the end of a looping pass when six yards out.
Henderson's best strike on goal saw goalkeeper Kingson uncomfortably fumble his measured shot around the post.
But Gyan missed the best openings, shooting into the side-netting after showing good strength when chasing a long pass, and then hopelessly miskicking from six yards out.
Blackpool were not without their opportunities - thanks to their willingness to commit and leave men forward even when under severe pressure - and they looked very capable of scoring on the break.
Campbell, in particular, looked bright and sharp and one clever turn on the edge of the box after a breathtaking run from first-half substitute Phillips - on for the injured Elliott Grandin - almost produced a great counter-attacking goal.
Luke Varney also tested home keeper Craig Gordon and Campbell whistled a shot narrowly wide after a purposeful run.
But because of their dominance in the middle of the park and the sheer volume of chances, Sunderland boss Steve Bruce must have been staggered and sickened in equal measure when the visitors took the lead five minutes after the break.
Clever interplay on the right allowed Neal Eardley to deliver the ball into the box and when his cross was flicked on by Evatt, Campbell was on hand to fire home from 10 yards.
The Seasiders could have doubled their lead with Gary Taylor-Fletcher almost converting a far-post cross and Craig Cathcart somehow missing a free header when it seemed easier to score.
But as the second half wore on, Sunderland piled forward at every opportunity and their relentless pressure looked certain to be rewarded in the closing stages.
Blackpool, chasing a seventh win in 17 league matches, simply could not contain Sunderland's rampant attack and had to resort to a combination of last-ditch defending, fine goalkeeping and a large slice of fortune.
Substitute Steed Malbranque's strike was beaten away by the over-worked - if not entirely convincing - Kingson, and the keeper also did well to keep out Henderson's 18-yard strike.
The best chances, however, came in the last 10 minutes.
Some comical defending involving two terrible clearances saw Kingson called on to block Welbeck's strike and then Evatt made amends for his shocking miscue by heading Bent's powerful follow-up over the bar.
Bent then came the closest to a home goal all afternoon with a stunning 25-yard free-kick that crashed back down off the bar and to safety.
And Blackpool made the game safe in injury-time when the impressive Phillips tricked his way into the box and crossed for Campbell who smashed the ball home via the bar.
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway was incensed that Titus Bramble - an early replacement for the injured Nedum Onuoha - was only shown a yellow card for a late challenge.
However nothing could spoil another wonderful day for a side who are in eighth spot in the Premier League table. They sit just two points behind Sunderland but because of their three recent postponements they also have three games in hand.

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