Gardner on away point

by Kate Smith

Midfielder reflects on St Mary’s draw.

Craig Gardner returned to the starting line-up in Sunderland’s draw with Southampton after missing the opening day of the season due to suspension.

Despite a late equaliser denying the Black Cats all three points, Gardner was upbeat after the game and believes there were plenty of positives to take from the performance on the south coast.

“Obviously it was a disappointing end to the game after we had held onto the lead for so long - it’s a point on the board but it should have been three,” Gardner told

“We came here with a game plan and I thought that we did really well; there was some solid defending out there and I think we were really unlucky not to leave with maximum points.”

Paolo Di Canio’s side snatched an early lead after Emanuele Giaccherini headed home Sebastian Larsson’s in-swinging corner, a move Gardner revealed the team had been working on in training.

“It was a great goal from Giaccherini, we have been practicing that set piece and I was there ready to pounce around the back, but the ball fell to the shortest man on the pitch and he was able to head it home.”

The Italian’s header was cancelled out by a late Jose Fonte goal, he leapt to nod home the equaliser on the 87 minute mark.

“The lads are really disappointed to concede so late in the game,” Gardner added.

“We need to bounce back and we’ve got the perfect chance in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

“It’ll be nice to get a run in the competition, something good for the fans too, who were absolutely amazing today.”