Campbell saves Black Cats
Striker scores on emotional comeback to deny Boro FA Cup upset
Last Updated: 29/01/12 4:38pm
Fraizer Campbell made a dream return to action for Sunderland as he stepped off the bench to score the equaliser against Middlesbrough in a feisty FA Cup fourth round clash.
Campbell has been forced to endure 18 months on the sidelines after two serious knee injuries with his last competitive outing coming back in August 2010, but proved his worth after stepping off the bench to keep the Black Cats in the hat for the last 16 along with their local rivals.
The former Manchester United trainee slotted home in the 59th minute with a precision first-time finish after being found by a neat pass from James McClean on the break following Barry Robson's blunder in the wake of a Boro corner.
Robson, who was otherwise excellent for the Championship visitors, had given Tony Mowbray's men the lead in the Wear-Tees derby in the 16th minute, volleying home in superb style in the 16th minute after John O'Shea gave the ball away and was then unable to clear his lines.
McClean came close to snatching an injury-time winner for the Black Cats but was just off target, meaning the North East neighbours will have to meet again at the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday, February 7 to decide who progresses to the next round.
The Black Cats had earlier seen a Craig Gardner strike ruled out, but their Championship neighbours were good value for a replay after a full-blooded contest in front of a crowd of 33,275.
Sunderland were dealt a major blow ahead of kick-off when skipper Lee Cattermole, who made his name as a teenager at Boro, was ruled out by a hamstring injury, a misfortune which was to prove significant before the break.
Gardner took his place in the middle of the field, but without Cattermole's bite, the Teessiders were able to prosper as Rhys Williams, Marvin Emnes and Robson, aided when not in possession by Faris Haroun and Scott McDonald, made life intensely difficult for their counterparts.
The visitors started brightly and Black Cats keeper Simon Mignolet was relieved to grasp McDonald's third-minute volley to his chest after it had initially threatened to squirm from his grasp.
Sunderland gradually worked their way into the game and might have gone ahead seven minutes later, only for Sebastian Larsson to head wastefully wide after Stephane Sessegnon had tricked his way past Robson and crossed from the right.
Boro had a lucky escape three minutes later when defender Seb Hines headed a David Vaughan corner straight at team-mate Haroun and saw the ball loop just over Coyne's crossbar.
But it was they who took the lead in spectacular style with 16 minutes gone.
Emnes made life difficult for defender O'Shea, captaining Sunderland in Cattermole's absence, and he could only loop a weak header towards Robson on the left side of the penalty area.
The former Celtic midfielder needed no second invitation and unleashed a stinging volley which flew past Mignolet's despairing dive and into the bottom corner.
The travelling fans behind Coyne's goal were in raptures, but as the half wore on, it was they who started to see far more of the ball than they would have liked.
Coyne got down well to block McClean's 23rd-minute shot and was in the right place at the right time to claim the winger's close-range header seconds later.
However, the game erupted into controversy with six minutes of the half remaining after the Black Cats thought they had dragged themselves back into it.
Gardner controlled Kieran Richardson's cross with more than a hint of handball and fired home off the inside of the far post with striker Connor Wickham watching the ball home at close range.
But the celebrations were ended abruptly by a flag, and after consulting his assistant, referee Kevin Friend ruled out the effort for offside against Wickham, despite the fact that he had not intervened.
Sunderland's mood might have darkened further on the stroke of half-time when Lukas Jutkiewicz found himself in on goal, but Mignolet saved his initial effort and when Haroun fed the rebound back to him, he fired harmlessly across goal.
Campbell replaced Wickham at the break, although it was Boro who enjoyed the better openings during the early exchanges.
Emnes volleyed just wide with 50 minutes gone and Robson curled a free-kick a yard past the post with the visitors refusing to sit on their lead.
The home side's fortunes took a turn for the worse when defender Wes Brown limped off after landing awkwardly following an aerial challenge with Emnes. However, the 10 men levelled in stunning style as Michael Turner prepared to replace him.
McClean ran on to Robson's poor back-pass before squaring for Campbell, who slipped his shot unerringly past Coyne to send a sigh of relief around the stadium.
O'Neill's men tore into their opponents as the momentum swung firmly their way, although Boro continued to make a real fight of it.Play switched rapidly from end to end, but neither side was able to find the killer blow in a rousing finale during which Williams was perhaps fortunate to see yellow rather than red for a wild challenge on Vaughan.
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|3||Shots on Target||3|
|9||Shots off Target||7|
|58.1||1st Half Poss.||41.9|
|57||2nd Half Poss.||43|