Bolton Wanderers 1 Sunderland 2 – May 7, 2011
Goals in the dying seconds of both halves against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium earned Sunderland their first away Premier Leahue win since January.
Victory guaranteed Steve Bruce’s men survival, with the Black Cats up to 11th place in the Premier League on 44 points with two games to go.
The Wearsiders, playing with Ahmed Elmohamady up front alongside Stephane Sessegnon, were comfortably the better side in the first half, playing lovely football.
But the clearer cut chances were cut out by Bolton, who could have taken the lead three times in the first half – with shots by Daniel Sturridge and Matt Taylor being blocked, and another Sturridge effort hitting the crossbar.
Sunderland took the lead on the stroke of half-time when the flag stayed down on Bolo Zenden’s run and he sprinted goalwards, rounded Jussi Jaaskelainen and finished neatly.
The second half was a much more evenly balanced affair.
Sunderland had their chances, but Bolton grew stronger as the game wore on and looked have salvaged at least a point when they scored just four minutes from time – a Rodrigo cross from the left being neatly headed home by Ivan Klasnic.
Sunderland might even have lost it in time added on when Phil Bardsley headed a Kevin Davies shot off the line.
Then, with virtually the last kick of the game, Sunderland seized all three points when the excellent Sessegnon fed Sulley Muntari and his cross from the left was turned over his own line by defender Zat Knight for a dramatic own-goal winner.
Delighted Bardsley told the Echo: “That’s one for the fans – they deserve it. They were different class, but then they always are.
“To have that many fans following you and outsinging the home crowd, especially after the bad run we’ve had, is unbelievable really.
“And we’re just glad to send them back home with a great win to enjoy, because it was some game and scoring right in front of them with virtually the last kick of the game was a bit special, wasn’t it?”