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Match Report - Sunderland 1-1 Middlesbrough

Tuesday 31st January 2012
Barry Robson went from hero to villain as Fraizer Campbell's 58th minute equaliser
denied Boro victory in an entertaining Wear-Tees Derby.

Robson's stunning 16th minute volley got the Teesiders off to a flier, however it was the Scotland international's loose pass that gifted the ball to the home side in the build up to Fraizer Campbell's finish.

Boro made a number of changes from the side that were beaten at Coventry last week. Justin Hoyte came in at left back with Joe Bennett dropping to the bench. Seb Hines started at centre back in place, with Rhys Williams pushing in to the midfield in place of the suspended Kevin Thomson and Lukas Jutkiewicz made his first start for the club.

Sunderland were without captain Lee Cattermole who sustained a hamstring injury in training on Friday, the former Boro man was replaced by Craig Gardner whilst Connor Wickham started up front in place of the injured Nicklas Bendtner.

It was the Teesside club that started brightly and a few minutes in Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet only just managed to keep hold of a Scott McDonald volley.

The home side gradually started to work their way in to the game and could have gone ahead several minutes later but Seb Larsson wastefully headed wide from Sessegnon's cross. Sunderland were unlucky again minutes later when Seb Hines headed a David Vaughan cross against his team mate Haroun, with the ball deflecting on to the roof of the Boro net.

It was the visitors however that took the lead in the 16th minute.

Following pressure from Emnes, John O'Shea could only head clear to the left hand side of the box where Barry Robson was arriving.

The ex-Celtic midfielder lashed an unstoppable volley past the despairing dive of Mignolet in to the bottom right hand corner and sent the travelling fans wild.

As the first half went on Sunderland came back in to the game and in the 23rd minute Danny Coyne had to get down well to block James McClean's strike. The Black Cats thought they had levelled the game in the on 39 minutes only for the goal to be rightly ruled out. Gardner controlled Richardson's cross with both arms and put the chance away only for his celebrations to be halted by the linesman's flag. After speaking to his assistant, referee Kevin Friend ruled the goal out for offside although the supposed culprit Connor Wickham didn't interfere with play.

The hosts problems nearly worsened moments before  half time when Jutkiewicz was put clean through on goal but Mignolet was equal to the former Coventry man's first effort, and the Boro man could only drag the rebound wide.

Fraizer Campbell replaced Wickham at half-time, but it was Boro that looked the brightest in the early exchanges.

Emnes volleyed wide on the 50 minute mark and Robson nearly doubled his tally moments later when he curled a free kick narrowly wide of the right hand post. The home side's fortunes changed however in the 58th minute. A poor Emnes effort was cleared by the Sunderland defence and when Robson failed to clear McClean advanced before squaring to Campbell, who slotted the ball past Coyne in the Boro goal.

The game became more open following the goal and there was half chances for both sides but neither team could find the killer blow. With nothing to separate the two sides they will meet at the Riverside on Wednesday 8th February with the game again showed live on ITV 1.
Matthew Nixon

Total articles: 28

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