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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam