Miller strike denies Boro
Substitute secures unlikely point for visitors
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 22/09/07 6:45pm
Miller: Late leveller
Liam Miller's superb late volley snatched a point for Sunderland in a 2-2 draw against rivals Middlesbrough at The Riverside.
Things began well for The Black Cats as Grant Leadbitter fired them ahead while most fans were still finding their seats.
However, Boro recovered from the early setback as former Wearside favourite Julio Arca heading home Gary O'Neil's cross on 15 minutes.
With the game up for grabs, Stewart Downing's superb right-footed strike from distance put the home side in front with 23 minutes remaining.
However, despite looking out-of-sorts, the visitors snatched an unlikely point when substitute Miller lashed a left-footed volley past Schwarzer.
Black Cats boss Roy Keane, celebrating 50 games in charge at the Stadium of Light, saw his side get off to the perfect start when Leadbitter capitalised on an error by former Black Cat Arca to start and finish an attack which produced the game's opening goal with less than two minutes gone.
Arca was barely into his stride when he gifted the ball to Leadbitter on halfway and looked on in horror as the Wearsiders made the most of the opportunity.
Leadbitter raced away before picking out Michael Chopra on the left, and then benefited from a slice of good fortune when the striker's shot hit him and fell perfectly for him to drive a left-foot effort past the stranded Schwarzer.
There were just 75 seconds on the clock when the ball hit the back of the net, but Boro's response was immediate as Arca atoned for his error within 12 minutes.
Home debutant O'Neil, a £5million deadline day signing from Portsmouth, sent in a teasing right-wing cross which the South American met with perfect timing at the far post to thump a downward header into the net despite the best efforts of Craig Gordon.
Striker Tuncay Sanli, who replaced the injured Jeremie Aliadiere in the starting line-up, limped off with just 10 minutes gone, and was followed within 15 minutes by the unfortunate Arca, who was carried off with what looked like a serious knee injury.
O'Neil tested Gordon with a smartly-struck shot from distance and should have done better on 37 minutes when he blasted a volley high over after Downing's effort had been deflected to him.
Boro started the second half the brighter, and went agonisingly close to taking the lead on 50 minutes when Lee accepted Mido's knockdown and curled a right-foot shot inches wide of the far post with Gordon beaten.
The visitors rallied and after seeing Jonathan Woodgate survive a penalty shout for handball, Ross Wallace blasted a cross the face of goal from Leadbitter's 55th-minute cross.
But they fell behind with 23 minutes remaining when Downing took aim from 25 yards and blasted a stunning right-foot shot past Gordon, who was undone by the swerve the England midfielder imparted on the ball.
Both O'Neil and Fabio Rochemback could have added to Keane's woes as time ran down.
But Miller had not given up hope and he muscled his way into the box a minute
from time to hammer a left-foot drive past Schwarzer.
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||4|
|9||Shots off Target||5|
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