SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Connolly rescues point, Cats chase leaders

Here is what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago today.

Friday, 16th December 2016, 9:58 am


Spectacular Connolly in at the death to rescue point (Burnley 2 Sunderland 2)

SUNDERLAND came from behind in thrilling fashion today to extend their unbeaten run to seven games.

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A large and loud travelling support had to wait until time added on in the second half before their side pulled a point out of the fire.

And the value of this morale-boosting draw cannot be under-estimated.

Sunderland fell behind as early as the ninth minute when Burnley counter-attacked and midfielder Wayne Elliott slotted forward to unmarked striker Kyle Lafferty, who was given the relatively simple task of firing past the exposed Darren Ward.

If that goal was soft, it was nothing compared to the striker’s second in the 52nd minute when a feeble back-header from Dwight Yorke dropped invitingly at the feet of the Burnley teenager and he rifled a low shot home from close range.

A demoralised Sunderland looked to be going nowhere as Burnley worked hard to frustrate them for the remainder of the second half.

But Grant Leadbitter scored a goal from nowhere in the 79th minute when he received possession 28 yards out and drove a stunning shot goalwards which curled into the top left-hand corner of Danny Coyne’s goal.

If anything, though, David Connolly’s equaliser in the second minute of time added on was even more spectacular.

With Burnley fans already taunting Sunderland’s, the Black Cats striker brought the ball under control 30 yards out and smashed a right-foot shot into the same corner of the goal as Leadbitter with a superb finish which silenced the home crowd.


... and you know you’re worried

GRAHAM KAVANAGH reckons Sunderland’s recent return to form will have the Championship pacesetters looking over their shoulders.

The Black Cats playmaker says it will not have passed the promotion-chasing clubs by that Sunderland are on a good run and have finally moved into the top half of the table.

And he says that club has to keep up that head of steam in the weeks ahead and try to stoke up the fear factor in their opponents.

He told the Echo: “We’ve put together a great unbeaten run and these six results have had a hugely positive effect on our confidence. If you look back to where were in the table a month or so ago, we have come a long way.

“We have started to get it together and that will put the pressure on the other teams in the division, who are now starting to worry about us.

“The clubs up at the top will have a fear of us gaining momentum because Sunderland is the club it is and is more than capable of putting in a genuine promotion bid.

“They’ll also be aware that the club has the potential to invest when the transfer window reopens next month and get stronger.

“They’ll not be happy to see us climbing up the table but equally, we’ve got to make sure that we continue to climb and start putting the pressure in them.”