Bent marks card for Cattermole after captain's loss of discipline
Sunderland 2 Birmingham City 2
Monday 16 August 2010
If Steve Bruce abdicated responsibility by directing his ire not at the culpable Lee Cattermole but towards Anthony Taylor, at least it appeared the errant Sunderland captain's team-mates were more inclined to know who to blame.
Bruce is likely to hear from the FA for his ill-advised post-match tirade at Taylor's justified sending-off of his captain, an attempt to defend the indefensible by turning attention to the Greater Manchester official's fast-tracking to the top flight less than four years after making it on to the Football League list.
He might be better employed attempting to bring into line the tearaway 22-year-old midfielder, who left Taylor little choice but to brandish a second yellow for a foul on Lee Bowyer shortly before the break, after an earlier caution for kicking the ball away.
Refreshingly, Darren Bent, who broke the deadlock with an early penalty after Stephen Carr's foul on Fraizer Campbell, was less willing to protect the perpetrator. The forward's sympathy was tinged with a caveat for the young tyro, a significant contributor to Sunderland leading the way with a record nine red cards last season.
"Lee was unlucky to get sent off, but it's something we need to clamp down on," Bent said. "When you go down to 10 men at this level, you make life hard for yourselves. If it's a yellow card for a tackle then you take it but, when you kick the ball away, you're asking for trouble. When you've been booked, you need to hold off a little."
Without their banished captain, the lead was doubled by Carr's headed own goal, but Sunderland's tendency from last season to capitulate late on in matches returned as the introduction of 6ft 7in substitute Nikola Zigic injected a note of panic hitherto undetected in a defence where the debutants Nedum Onuoha and Titus Bramble had excelled.
Scott Dann headed through the legs of the hesitant debutant goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with 13 minutes left, inducing the jitters to a sufficient degree to allow Liam Ridgewell to claim a deserved share of the spoils with a close-range equaliser from Seb Larsson's pin-point free-kick.
"Even though we had a good season last time, we struggled to score goals so to come back and score twice somewhere like this is bodes well," Dann said. "Zigic is going to be a real handful. He's a big lad and will be a great asset."
Sunderland 4-4-2: Mignolet; Onuoha, Mensah, Bramble, Richardson; Elmohamady (Waghorn, 90), Henderson, Cattermole, Malbranque (Riveros, 64); Bent (Welbeck, 84), Campbell. Substitutes not used Carson (gk), Bardsley, Da Silva, Zenden.
Booked Richardson, Bent. Sent off Cattermole, 43.
Birmingham City 4-4-2: Foster; Carr (Gardner, 65), Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell; Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Fahey (McFadden, 46); Jerome, O'Connor (Zigic, 58). Substitutes not used Taylor (gk), Murphy, Madera, Parnaby.
Booked Carr, Gardner, Johnson
Referee A Taylor (Manchester) Attendance 38,390
Man of the match Zigic
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Besiktas: Seven reasons why Arsenal could suffer a Champions League upset
Manchester United transfer news: Is Angel Di Maria really worth £59.7m?
MK Dons vs Manchester United League Cup match report: Louis van Gaal is humiliated after Jonny Evans’ error sparks four-goal drubbing
Torres latest: Chelsea striker insisting on permanent deal to AC Milan - reports
Angel Di Maria to Manchester United: Winger was once sold for 35 footballs - now it's £60m
- 1 Rice Bucket Challenge: India's take on the Ice Bucket Challenge 'for Indian needs'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Teenager dies after suspected ice bucket challenge goes horribly wrong
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading