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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


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
11st Half Goals0
2Shots on Target3
4Shots off Target6
0Blocked Shots4
0Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
64Passing Success75.1
77.3Tackles Success73.3
53.4Territorial Advantage46.6



Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 12 32
2 Southampton 12 26
3 Manchester City 12 24
4 Manchester United 12 19
5 Newcastle United 12 19
6 West Ham United 12 18
7 Swansea City 12 18
8 Arsenal 12 17
9 Everton 12 17
10 Tottenham Hotspur 12 17
11 Stoke City 12 15
12 Liverpool 12 14
13 West Bromwich Albion 12 13
14 Sunderland 12 13
15 Crystal Palace 12 12
16 Aston Villa 12 12
17 Hull City 12 11
18 Leicester City 12 10
19 Burnley 12 10
20 Queens Park Rangers 12 8