Whitley to miss FA Cup semi-final for sending-off

Jeff Whitley will miss Sunderland's FA Cup semi-final after being sent off for violent conduct in Wednesday night's 3-3 draw with Preston North End at the Stadium of Light. The central midfielder faces a minimum three-match ban after he seemed to follow up a two-footed tackle on Richard Cresswell in the 59th minute by lashing out at Graham Alexander.

With the score at 1-1, the Black Cats were already struggling to break down their opponents, who were hit by injuries. But they moved up a gear to take the lead twice more, only to be pegged back by a late equaliser.

The substitutes Sean Thornton and Marcus Stewart restored Sunderland's advantage in a pulsating second half, the former with a stunning 70th-minute free-kick and Stewart from a penalty after 82 minutes.

Tyrone Mears, whose own goal midway through the first half was cancelled out by David Healy, netted the second equaliser in the 79th minute before a superbly struck Eddie Lewis free-kick gave Preston the point they richly deserved.

The Preston manager, Craig Brown, believes his side are still in with a chance of reaching the First Division play-offs, especially if the nine players missing from last night's match respond to treatment.

"We are still in contention with the home games we have to come. We have a good opportunity to gather some points," Brown said. "This team does not know when it is beaten, we battle away from home, and Sunderland is a difficult place to come and get a point even if the Cup has had an effect on them."

Phil Prosser constantly incensed the home crowd with a series of controversial decisions but the official from West Yorkshire was left with no option but to dismiss Whitley for his moment of madness.

The Sunderland manager, Mick McCarthy, claimed the match turned on the dismissal of Whitley. "I thought the two of them went into a tackle but it looked a bad tackle. There was a suggestion that he was sent off for a punch, but he never did," McCarthy said.

"I am very disappointed. With 10 men some people might think I am delighted with a point, but I am not. I thought we were excellent in the first half and did not deserve the sucker punch before half-time. It gave them a bonus going in and it was a big disappointment for us."

Brighton boosted their hopes of a place in the Second Division play-offs with a 3-0 win over Tranmere. The midfielder Gary Hart and strikers Trevor Benjamin and Leon Knight all scored within 31 minutes to move Brighton up to fifth place.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker