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Barclays Premier League

St Andrew's (ATT 24,898) 15th August 2007 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: K Stroud

Birm'ham Birmingham City vs Sunderland S'land

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S'land 2

John salvages last-gasp draw

Ex-Blue secures unlikely point

By James Pearson.   Last Updated: 15/08/07 11:06pm

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John: Late leveller

John: Late leveller

Stern John scored in injury-time as Sunderland twice fought back from a goal down to claim a 2-2 draw at Birmingham.

Paul McShane's own goal from Stephen Kelly's header put Blues in front, but Michael Chopra's second goal in two games squared the contest in the second half.

Substitute Garry O'Connor looked to have given Steve Bruce's side the points before the 10-man visitors snatched a point.

With Carlos Edwards injured, and Roy Keane having used all his substitutes, the visitors were down a man, but ex-Blue John popped up in injury-time to secure an unlikely point.

Ross Wallace was key to most of the Black Cats' early moves down the left and he created a second minute chance for Dickson Etuhu, who headed well wide.

Steve Bruce's men responded through Olivier Kapo, who got behind Greg Halford before hitting a low deep cross which was well held by Craig Gordon in the visitors' goal.

But the longer the first half went on the more chances came at a premium, with neither Blues goalkeeper Colin Doyle nor £9million man Gordon having much work to do.

McShane contributed to a brief spell of Sunderland pressure with an ambitious overhead kick in the box before playing an unfortunate part in the Blues' 28th-minute opener.

Larsson's free-kick was headed across goal by Kelly and the ball struck McShane on the chest, diverting it over the line past a helpless Gordon.

Briefly rattled, Sunderland almost presented the home side with another golden opportunity two minutes later when Nyron Nosworthy lost possession to Mikael Forssell on the edge of his own box.

At the other end, David Connolly's appeals for a penalty after falling under Kelly's challenge were waved away by referee Keith Stroud, bringing Keane out of the dugout to protest.

Edwards came close to firing a spectacular equaliser in the 42nd minute but he blazed his rising effort over the bar after finding space on the edge of the Blues box.

Larsson's delightful little lob into the box in the 55th minute set up a chance for the on-rushing Gary McSheffrey but the alert Gordon just beat him to clear.

Keane was soon making his three substitutions and the tactic appeared to have paid off handsomely in the 75th minute when Chopra latched onto a Dickson Etuhu ball and fired a stunning left-foot shot past Doyle from 18 yards.

Birmingham responded seven minutes later through substitute O'Connor, who was fed a delightful ball by Forssell on the left of the Sunderland box and finished clinically after wrong-footing McShane.

In a dramatic finale, there was still time for John to head against the crossbar from point-blank range after great work down the right by Edwards - who went off with what appeared to be a hamstring problem immediately afterwards.

In the final minute, Wallace's deflected free-kick was brilliantly parried by Doyle but fell to Nosworthy, who headed back across the face of goal for John to head in and break home hearts.

Birmingham CityTeam StatisticsSunderland
2Goals2
11st Half Goals0
2Shots on Target3
4Shots off Target6
0Blocked Shots4
2Corners7
22Fouls10
2Offsides0
0Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
64Passing Success75.1
22Tackles15
77.3Tackles Success73.3
43.2Possession56.8
53.4Territorial Advantage46.6

Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 29 67
2 Manchester City 30 61
3 Arsenal 30 60
4 Manchester United 30 59
5 Liverpool 30 54
6 Southampton 30 53
7 Tottenham Hotspur 30 53
8 Swansea City 30 43
9 West Ham United 30 42
10 Stoke City 30 42
11 Crystal Palace 30 36
12 Newcastle United 30 35
13 Everton 30 34
14 West Bromwich Albion 30 33
15 Hull City 30 28
16 Aston Villa 30 28
17 Sunderland 30 26
18 Burnley 30 25
19 Queens Park Rangers 30 22
20 Leicester City 29 19

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