Roque to the rescue
Rovers see-off deflated Black Cats
Last Updated: 14/11/08 2:21pm
Santa Cruz: Goalscorer
Substitute Roque Santa Cruz netted within minutes of joining the pitch as Blackburn Rovers fought off a resilient Sunderland to see out a 2-1 win in the fourth round of the Carling Cup.
Despite a dominant display by the Black Cats, the visitors took the honours at the Stadium of Light in a thrilling encounter.
Second-half substitute Santa Cruz scored within minutes of coming on before Phillip Bardsley put one in the back of his own net to give the visitors a two-goal lead in as many minutes.
Kenwyne Jones scored soon after in a thrilling episode midway through the second half after having a previous attempt ruled out for offside.
But it was not enough for Roy Keane's men who seemed tired and frustrated by their misfortune after dominating for most of the game.
Paul Ince had chosen to make seven changes to his team, but that did not include first-choice keeper Paul Robinson, and the decision was justified.
Having already seen veteran midfielder Tugay block a goalbound Kieran Richardson shot, the England keeper tipped Danny Collins' header over on the half-hour to keep his side level.
He needed the help of the crossbar two minutes later after Jones met Collins' cross with his head, and he was relieved to see Richardson sky a 37th-minute shot after Jones had once again made his presence felt inside the penalty area.
But if Sunderland enjoyed the clearer openings, they did not have things all their own way.
Rovers midfielder Keith Treacy saw an 18th-minute volley dip just wide of Marton Fulop's right post, and the same man was aggrieved not only to not be awarded a 26th-minute penalty for Bardsley's challenge, but to be booked into the bargain.
Sunderland resumed in determined fashion with Jones sending a 48th-minute downward header just wide of Robinson's left post with the keeper scrambling across his line.
Richardson was handed a chance to reprise his match-winning heroics in the Wear-Tyne derby last month when his side were awarded a 54th-minute free-kick for a foul by Zurab Khizanishvili on Steed Malbranque.
However, this time, he blasted his shot inches over to let the visitors off the hook.
His side might have been punished seconds later when defender Christopher Samba fired across the face of goal with the game starting to open up.
Ince knew his side was in need of greater firepower, and he made his move with 27 minutes remaining when he withdrew debutant Andy Howarth and sent on the fit-again Santa Cruz.
It took the Paraguayan little time to make his mark, running on to Samba's flick from Martin Olsson's cross to head past the helpless Fulop.
It was 2-0 within five minutes when Fulop pushed Matt Derbyshire's cross on to Bardsley, who could do nothing as the ball cannoned off him and nestled in his own net.
Keane immediately withdrew Malbranque to send on Andy Reid, and his side were back in the game within seconds when Jones fired left-footed past Robinson to give them hope.
Further reinforcements were added when Daryl Murphy and Grant Leadbitter replaced Jones and Henderson, but it was all to no avail.
|Sunderland||Team Statistics||Blackburn Rovers|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||2|
|8||Shots off Target||5|