FRAIZER Campbell made a dramatic return from his injury misery to keep Sunderland’s FA Cup dreams alive and deny Middlesbrough a famous victory.
The former Manchester United striker, introduced as a half-time substitute for his first senior appearance since August 2010 was the hero of the hour for the Black Cats.
He needed just 18 minutes to make an impact, sliding the ball past Boro keeper Danny Coyne from James McClean’s pinpoint pass to cancel out Barry Robson’s first-half opener.
The Black Cats had earlier seen a Craig Gardner strike controversially ruled out, but their npower Championship neighbours were good value for a replay after a full-blooded fourth-round contest in front of a crowd of 33,275.
Sunderland were dealt a major blow ahead of kick-off when skipper Lee Cattermole, who made his name as a teenager at Boro, was ruled out by a hamstring injury, a misfortune which was to prove significant before the break.
Gardner took his place in the middle of the field, but without Cattermole’s bite, the Teessiders were able to prosper.
They who took the lead in spectacular style with 16 minutes gone.
Emnes made life difficult for defender John O’Shea, captaining Sunderland in Cattermole’s absence and he could only loop a weak header towards Robson on the left side of the penalty area.
The former Celtic midfielder needed no second invitation and unleashed a stinging volley which flew past Mignolet’s despairing dive and into the bottom corner.
The game erupted into controversy with six minutes of the half remaining after the Black Cats thought they had dragged themselves back into it.
Gardner controlled Kieran Richardson’s cross with a hint of handball and fired home off the inside of the far post with striker Connor Wickham watching the ball home at close hand.
However, after consulting his assistant, referee Kevin Friend ruled out the effort, apparently for offside against Wickham.
Sunderland almost fell further behind on the stroke of half-time when Lukas Jutkiewicz found himself in on goal, but fired harmlessly wide.
Don’t miss a full match report, plus photos and reaction so the game and the FA Cup draw, in tomorrow’s Echo.