Wickham and Gardner earn FA Cup replay.
Sunderland fought back from a two goal deficit to earn a FA Cup replay against Bolton Wanderers.
The Black Cats scored two second half goals in front of a magnificent travelling support of 5,000 Sunderland fans with goals from Connor Wickham and Craig Gardner.
Sunderland trailed 2-0 until the hour mark when Wickham replaced Carlos Cuellar and scored a minute after coming off the bench.
Craig Gardner leveled the tie with a thunderous strike to send the game into replay at the Stadium of Light.
The home side started brightly but failed to capitalise on early opportunities, but Sunderland had the better of possession in the opening ten minutes of the game.
However, it was the home side who took an early lead opening the scoring in front of 5,000 travelling Sunderland supporters. Carlos Cuellar received the ball from Simon Mignolet on the left hand side of his box and Cuellar’s pass across the box found Chung Young Lee. The South Korean hit a low shot with his first touch to slot home into an empty net after 12 minutes.
The Black Cats immediately looked to respond with three consecutive corners. Two long range efforts on goal from Craig Gardner, who was playing just off Steven Fletcher, could not break down the Bolton defence as they blocked the Black Cats’ chances.
Danny Rose’s afternoon was cut short when he appeared to pull up with a hamstring injury after 19 minutes and he was replaced by Jack Colback who slotted in at left back.
Colback was straight into the action bursting forward from the left hand side where he passed to David Vaughan in the centre of the park and he was next to test Andy Lonergan in the Bolton goal. Vaughan’s thunderous shot had the Bolton keeper at full stretch to keep out his effort.
The Black Cats almost leveled the scores on the half hour mark. Adam Johnson was brought down by Marcos Alonso out on the right wing and Johnson hit a curling left foot effort on goal 30 yards out. The quick shot on goal had Lonergan at full stretch again to tip the ball over for another Sunderland corner which was eventually cleared by Wanderers.
Just before the break the Black Cats continued to attack the Bolton goal with two more corners. Steven Fletcher got on the end of the first Larsson corner but his header went over the crossbar. From the second quick corner the ball was punched out by Lonergan with a scramble just outside the six yard box before Bolton broke free to counter attack.
Into the second half and after just three minutes in the home side doubled their lead. A corner for Wanderers was punched clear by Mignolet but was headed back into the box before Marvin Sordell knocked the ball on with his head and into the Sunderland goal.
Martin O’Neill made his second change of the game on the hour mark. Carlos Cuellar limped off and was replaced by Connor Wickham. Wickham partnered Fletcher up front, with Gardner moving to right back and Bardsley into centre back.
And after just a minute of being on the pitch Wickham pulled a goal back for the Black Cats. The striker was at the back post for a corner. The ball fell to Wickham and he smashed the ball home inside the six yard box to make it 2-1 after 61 minutes.
Wickham’s goal lifted the 5,000 travelling fans behind the goal the Black Cats were attacked as they continued to out sing the home fans.
Sunderland continued to create chances and a powerful Craig Gardner free-kick 30 yards out could only be punched away by the Bolton keeper before the ball fell to Johnson, but he hit over the bar.
Wickham then looked to create a chance for a leveler for Sunderland. Gardner whipped a deep ball in from the right wing which found Wickham at the back post and he headed the ball back across the goal but nobody was on the end to hit into an open goal.
With 15 minutes remaining the Black Cats were level thanks to Craig Gardner. A thunderbolt shot on the edge of the box 25 yards out smashed into the roof of the net, bringing the travelling fans to their feet.
Sunderland were in search of a winner throughout the final ten minutes and won yet more corners. From a Johnson corner the ball looked to have crossed the line before being cleared by Bolton goalscorer Lee.
The Black Cats were unable to find a winner despite fine encouragement from the travelling fans and the tie ended all square to result in a replay on Wearside.
The draw for the fourth draw of the FA Cup with Budweiser is tomorrow afternoon and Sunderland/Bolton will be ball number 24.
- Cuéllar (Wickham)
- Rose (Colback)