Cardiff 2 - 2 Sunderland

by James, Junior Black Cats reporter

Two late goals seal a point in South Wales.

Sunderland extended their unbeaten run to five games with a 2-2 draw with Cardiff City.

The result looked in doubt on the hour mark when Frazier Campbell put the hosts 2-0 up following a Jordon Mutch strike earlier in the game.

However, a late double from Steven Fletcher and Jack Colback ensured the 1,500 Sunderland fans would go back to Wearside happy.

Gus Poyet started without Fletcher, Colback and Ondrej Celustka for this Barclays Premier League match, replacing them with the trio of Andrea Dossena, Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini.

The manager-less Bluebirds started the better and, moments after being booked for simulation, Jordon Mutch put them 1-0 up.

Valentin Roberge was dispossessed by ex-Black Cat Campbell who capitalised on the Frenchman’s loose touch and played the ball to Mutch, with the midfielder having a free run on Modibo Diakite. Twenty yards out, Mutch pulled the trigger and saw his shot beat Mannone at his near post after a wicked deflection off Diakite.

The South Wales side were in control of the game, with Sunderland just not being able to get into it. Craig Noone, Kim and Peter Whittingham all forced Mannone into smart saves from range, with the latter seeing his well worked free kick palmed just wide by the scrambling Italian.

Phil Bardsley then had a good chance on a rare foray into the Cardiff half. However, just as he looked to pull the trigger, the Scot took a loose touch and ran the ball out of play.

Despite a Sunderland attack, the hosts still controlled the game, with Campbell heading just wide from a Mutch cross and Noone firing straight into the arms of Mannone from range.

As the half went on, though, Sunderland began to settle and should have scored an equaliser when Ki’s shot was saved by David Marshall, who could only push the ball into the path of Jozy Altidore. The American, stationed two yards out, could not control the ball and slid it wide.

Fabio Borini, who was taken to hospital at half time after feeling unwell, had a hat-trick of chances to draw the Lads level, but each one was met by Marshall in the Cardiff goal.

The Italian twice ran onto crosses on the edge of the box but, striking them on the half volley, Marshall managed to push both shots wide and it was the same result when the Liverpool loanee tried his luck from range, with the Scottish shot stopper being equal.

The second half began quite quietly compared to the all action first half. Fletcher had come on for Borini as Poyet changed his formation to 4-4-2 as Sunderland went looking for the points.

However, the task was about to get a lot harder when Mutch’s left wing cross managed to beat  Roberge and find its way to Campbell, who ran in front of Dossena before slotting home from a few yards out.

A defensive lapse in concentration could have cost Sunderland the game but the Lads battled back and soon began to create some chances of their own.

The stand out one was Lee Cattermole coming within an inch of scoring his first goal in red and white.

A training ground Seb Larsson corner was swung toward the edge of the box where Cattermole was well placed but the stand-in skipper’s half-volley flashed across the face of goal and just over the bar.

The Wearsiders did get on the score sheet after 83 minutes, however as good play from Emanuele Giaccherini in the corner where the Sunderland fans were saw a cross flash into the box.

Fletcher then showed his striking instinct by getting in front of his defender and prodding the ball into the bottom corner.

Colback, Fletcher and Roberge then all came close to scoring, with the centre back seeing an exquisite volley saved by the in-form Marshall.

The pressure, though, was too much for Cardiff and with ten seconds of the five added minutes left, the ball hit the back of the net via a deflected shot from Colback.

Ki had put the ball in from the left and, thanks to a Roberge flick on, the pass found its way to Colback who hit the ball off Steven Caulker and into the net, starting wild celebrations from the bench, the pitch and of course the corner in which the vocal travelling support were situated.