Game of the Day: Sunderland 2 Liverpool 1

by Kate Smith

Sunderland stun title hopefuls Liverpool at the SoL in today's classic clash.

15th December 2002

Substitute Michael Proctor saved Sunderland from their fifth successive league defeat when he came off the bench to secure a late 2-1 win for the Black Cats over Liverpool back in December 2002.

Under-fire strike force Kevin Phillips and Tore Andre Flo set the tone for the game from the kick off as they launched themselves at Chris Kirkland's goal.

The pair combined well early on in the game as they provided Kevin Kilbane with a shooting chance, and again moments later when Phillips fired Stephen Wright's clearance just wide of the goal.

Sunderland ended their 514-minute goal drought just before half-time with a stunning strike from Gavin McCann.

The midfielder sent the ball spinning out to Flo, but he continued his run to receive the striker's pass and lift a shot over Chris Kirkland to find the back of the net.

Moments later Austrian keeper Jurgen Macho was called into action for the first time as he got a hand to a Vladmir Smicer effort and blocked Milan Baros' goal-bound shot with his legs.

With so much at stake for both sides, there was never likely to be any let-up after the break, and that proved the case.

Macho stood firm to stop another Baros effort and managed to get an arm to Danny Murphy's free kick after it had cleared a nine-man wall.

Sunderland had the opportunity to double their lead on the hour-mark as Jamie Carragher handled the ball, gifting the home side a penalty.

But McCann failed to convert the spot kick as he sent it to the left of Kirkland, who guessed correctly and got a hand to it.

The penalty miss seemed to inspire the visitors as they began bombarding the Sunderland defence.

Constant threat Baros eventually grabbed an equaliser for the Reds with a low shot past Macho 20 minutes from time.

With both sides seemingly happy to take a point from the game, substitute Michael Proctor was in the right place at the right time to bundle home a winner for Sunderland.

The young striker managed to get on the end of a Phillips cross and completely miskicked the ball, before finding the back of the net with his second swing as Kirkland ran off his line to try and clear it.

Proctor's 85th-minute strike condemned the Reds to a fourth successive league defeat and earned Sunderland a vital three points.

Sunderland: Macho, Wright, McCartney, Babb, Bjorklund, Gray (Proctor, 80), Thirlwell, McCann, Kilbane, Flo (Stewart, 89), Phillips
Subs Not Used: Ingham, Thome, Bellion
Goals: McCann 36, Proctor 85.

Liverpool: Kirkland, Carragher, Biscan (Diouf, 63), Henchoz, Traore, Murphy, Gerrard, Hamann (Riise, 45), Smicer (Diao, 72), Owen, Baros
Subs Not Used: Babbel, Dudek
Booked: Murphy, Carragher
Goals: Baros 68