Sunderland on this day: Bruce’s final agony, Reid’s romp at Portsmouth and Hungarian challenge

Seb Larsson scores for Sunderland in the 2-1 defeat at home to Wigan on this day five years ago. Picture by Kevin Brady
Seb Larsson scores for Sunderland in the 2-1 defeat at home to Wigan on this day five years ago. Picture by Kevin Brady
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Sunderland head to Liverpool in a testing Premier League game today, looking to build on successive wins over Bournemouth and Hull.

On this day, the Wearsiders must go back 22 years for the last win on this day, November 26.

Five years ago, defeat to Wigan spelt the end of Steve Bruce’s reign.

Here we look back on the Red and Whites’ most recent 10 games on November 26.

Sunderland 1 Wigan Athletic 2

November 26, 2011

Steve Bruce’s reign ended after the Black Cats went down to a smash and grab raid from the Premier League’s basement side.

Wigan were woeful and could easily have been four goals down by half-time, but they rode their luck and, in stoppage side after the 90 minutes, nicked all three points after a defensive howler from Wes Brown.

Sunderland took the lead in the eighth minute after keeper Ali Al Habsi failed to hold on to Nicklas Bendtner’s hopeful shot from the left-wing, the keeper blocking Kieran Richardson’s follow-up but unable to stop Seb Larsson clipping home his fourth goal of the season.

It was a mistake by Wigan’s Player of the Year, but he went on to make up for it with save after save to deny Sunderland in the minutes that followed and the visitors pinched an equaliser a couple of minutes from half-time when Larsson came together with Victor Moses and referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot, Jordi Gomez firing his side level.

The second half was more even as Sunderland ran out of steam a little midway through the half.

They kept pushing for an equaliser but their final ball always let them down and in the end Wigan hit them with a sucker punch – Brown dwelling on the ball 15 yards outside his own area, James McArthur dispossessing him and feeding substitute Franco di Santo who slotted into an open goal.

Sunderland are now looking down the table rather than up and the manager is now under pressure with home fans howling their unhappiness at him at this latest awful setback.

SUNDERLAND: Westwood, O’Shea (Ji), Bardsley (Vaughan), Turner, Brown, Cattermole (Gardner), Larsson, Colback, Bendtner, Sessegnon, Richardson

WIGAN: Al Habsi, Gohouri, Figueroa, Caldwell, Stam (McArthur), McCarthy, Diame, Jones, Sammon (Di Santo), Gomez, Moses

Att: 37,883

Sunderland 0 Birmingham City 1

November 26, 2005

Dismal Sunderland slumped to a sixth successive defeat in a Premier League six-pointer against relegation rivals Birmingham.

It left home manager Mick McCarthy moaning: “It’s a disgraceful performance and I’ll have to apologise to the fans.It was gutless.

“After they scored we showed no character, spirit, aggression or determination which is a worry.”

Julian Gray came off the bench to bag the only goal for Steve Bruce’s Blues midway through the second half at the Stadium of Light.

Fellow sub Walter Pandiani had a header saved by Ben Alnwick, after good work from winger Jermaine Pennant, but Gray was first to react to tap home the loose ball.

Jon Stead was close to his first Sunderland goal, with his best effort kept out by a Muzzy Izzet block.

Then Liam Lawrence had a late strike pushed around the post by keeper Nico Vaesen .

SUNDERLAND: Alnwick, Nosworthy, Hoyte, Breen, Collins, Miller, Whitehead, Bassila (Gray), Welsh (Lawrence), Stead, Le Tallec (Brown).

BIRMINGHAM CITY: Vaesen, Cunningham, Melchiot, Taylor, Upson, Johnson, Kilkenny (Pennant), Izzet, Dunn (Gray), Heskey, Jarosik (Pandiani).

Att: 32,442

Portsmouth 1 Sunderland 4

November 26, 1994

Sunderland produced one of their best performances under Mick Buxton’s management to get back to winning ways in the First Division.

After a four-match run without a win, Sunderland ran out deserved victors in front of a paltry Fratton Park crowd to secure a fifth victory in 18 league games.

Craig Russell rocked Pompey with a 19th-minute opener, and defender Andy Melville doubled the lead two minutes later.

Phil Gray converted a penalty four minutes before the break to make it 3-0.

Portsmouth grabbed a lifeline early in the second period, when Darryl Powell struck, but Sunderland never looked in danger of surrendering their lead and Martin Smith duly made sure with a fourth goal to put the icing on the cake four minutes from time.

PORTSMOUTH: Knight, Gittens, Dobson, Totten, Neill, McLoughlin (Radosavljevic), Pethick, Powell, Hall, Creaney, Burton

SUNDERLAND: Chamberlain, Kubicki, Ord, Ball, Melville, Arkinson, Owers, Martin Gray, Russell, Phil Gray, Smith

Att: 7,527

Brighton 3 Sunderland 0

November 26, 1988

Denis Smith’s Red and Whites saw their nine-match unbeaten Second Division run ended by a convincing defeat at the Goldstone Ground.

Only six goals had been conceded in the nine-game surge up the table, but the Seagulls struck a killer blow with three in just nine minutes either side of the interval.

Full-back Gary Chivers made the breakthrough three minutes before half-time, and Steve Penney increased the home advantage three minutes into the second period.

Three minutes later, striker Kevin Bremner made it game over with Brighton’s third goal.

BRIGHTON: Keeley, Chivers, Dublin, Gatting, May, Wilkins, Nelson, Curbishley, Bremner, Owers, Penney

SUNDERLAND: Hesford, F Gray (Ord), Agboola, Bennett, MacPhail, Doyle (Gates), Owers, Armstrong, Gabbiadini, Whitehurst, Pascoe

Att: 10,039

Birmingham City 0 Sunderland 1

November 26, 1983

Sunderland recovered from the despair of a midweek League Cup exit to Norwich City to claim all three points at St Andrews.

A third win in four league matches lifted Alan Durban’s Rokermen to 14th place.

A typically tight battle with Ron Saunders’ wide, which featured Sunderland-born striker Mick Harford, was settled midway through the second half when Paul Bracewell grabbed his first Sunderland goal from midfield.

Bracewell had impressed since signing from Stoke in the summer.

BIRMINGHAM CITY: Coton, Hagan, Van Den Hauwe, Blake, Wright, Stevenson, Gayle, Phillips, Harford, Handysides, Hopkins

SUNDERLAND: Turner, Venison, Pickering, Atkins, Chisholm, Elliott, Bracewell, Rowell, West, Proctor, James

Att: 11,948

Sunderland 1 Luton Town 1

November 26, 1977

Sunderland had to come from behind to rescue a point in a tough Roker Park clash with the Hatters in Division Two.

Centre-forward Ron Futcher gave Harry Haslam’s men the lead three minutes before the interval.

But Sunderland responded well at the start of the second half and levelled with a strike from left-back Joe Bolton.

The point extended Jimmy Adamson’s unbeaten league run to seven games, but Sunderland still dropped two places to ninth in the table, after 17 games.

SUNDERLAND: Siddall, Henderson, Bolton, Kerr, Elliott, Ashurst, Rostron, Arnott, Greenwood, Holden, Rowell

LUTON TOWN: Aleksic, Price, Buckley, West, Faulkner, McNichol, Husband, Hill, Futcher, Fuccillo, Carr

Att: 26,915

Manchester United 5 Sunderland 0

November 26, 1966

Manchester United, on course to win the First Division title, ran out comfortable 5-0 winners at Old Trafford, with David Herd having a day to remember, bagging four goals.

But Sunderland were severely hampered by the loss of keeper Jimmy Montgomery to injury in the 35th minute.

Charlie Hurley initially went in goal until the break, but full-back John Parke came off the bench to finally replace Montgomery for the second half and he took the green jersey.

In the days of one sub, Jim Baxter had to battle on with a bad limp from the 50th minute after receiving a heavy challenge.

United’s first there goals all came against different keepers, with Herd beating Montgomery in the 27th minute and then doubling the lead, past Hurley, a minute before half-time.

Parke picked the ball pout of the net just three minutes after coming on, when Denis Law struck.

Herd added two more goals in the final 10 minutes to steer United to one of 17 home wins in an unbeaten league campaign at Old Trafford.

MANCHESTER UTD: Stepney, Dunne, Noble, Crerand, Sadler, Stiles, Best, Law, Charlton, Herd, Aston

SUNDERLAND: Montgomery (Parke), Irwin, Ashurst, Elliott, Hurley, Kinnell, Herd, O’Hare, Martin, Baxter, Mulhall

Att: 44,687

Scunthorpe Utd 3 Sunderland 3

November 26, 1960

Sunderland blew a two-goal lead in the closing stages at the Old Show Ground to stay in 10th place in Division Two.

The draw extended the Rokermen’s unbeaten run to six, but boss Alan Brown must have been disappointed by the late revival from the home side.

Scunthorpe got off to a flier, with a seventh-minute opener from Barrie Thomas, but Willie McPheat needed just three minutes to equalise.

Harry Hooper fired Sunderland in front just before the break, and they looked to have tied up both points when Jack Overfield notched a third goal for the visitors in the 79th minute.

But Joe Bonson gave Scunny hope within two minutes and Jackie Brownsword then drove home an 89th-minute penalty leveller.

SCUNTHORPE UTD: Jones, John, Brownsword, Neale, Horstead, Sharpe, Marriott, Godfrey, Thomas, Bonson, Bakes

SUNDERLAND: Wakeham, Nelson, Ashurst, Anderson, Hurley, McNab, Hooper, Fogarty. Lawther, McPheat, Overfield

Att: 9,156

Sunderland 2 MTK Budapest 2

November 26, 1956

Hungarian visitors MTK Budapest hit back from two goals down to secure a draw in an entertaining Roker Park friendly.

Budapest, who had reached the quarter-finals of the inaugural European Cup competition the previous season, fell behind eight minutes before the break, with Alan O’Neill on target.

Len Shackleton increased the lead six minutes into the second half, but the Hungarian outfit showed their class to come back for a draw.

Star man Nandor Hidegkuti, a ground-breaking deep-lying centre-forward in the magical Magyars national team of the era, equalised on the hour mark, then MTK’s Janos Molnar levelled eight minutes from time.

SUNDERLAND: Bollands, Hedley, McDonald, Anderson, Daniel, Aitken, Bingham, O’Neill, Purdon, Shackleton, Elliott

MTK BUDAPEST: Geller, L Szimcsak, Kovac, Kovacs. Borzsel, Sipos, Sandor, Palotas, Hidegkuti, Szolnok (Molnar), I Szimcsak

Att: 22,688

Sunderland 3 Charlton Athletic 2

November 26, 1955

Sunderland responded instantly to their 8-2 humiliation at Luton the previous week to get back to winning ways, and move back up to fourth place in Division One.

The Rokermen – who replaced shellshocked keeper Willie Fraser with Les Dodds – were always the better side, but Charlton scored twice late on to ensure a very nervous finale.

Billy Elliott settled Sunderland with a fourth-minute opener, and Charlie Fleming doubled the lead two minutes before the interval.

North East-born Charlton keeper Sam Bartram denied Sunderland a third goal when he saved a Fleming penalty midway through the second half.

Then came three goals in the final four minutes. First, Stuart Leary pulled Charlton back into the game, only for Fleming’s second of the afternoon to quickly restore the two-goal advadntage.

John Ryan grabbed a second for the visitors a minute from time, but time ran out in their bid to force an equaliser.

SUNDERLAND: Dodds, Hedley, McDonald, Anderson, Daniel, Aitken, Hannigan, Fleming, Purdon, Chisholm, Elliott

CHARLTON: Bartram, Campbell, Townsend, Hewie, Ufton, Hammond, Hurst, Ryan, Leary, White, Kiernan

Att: 36,716