Phil Parkinson reacts to Sunderland's dramatic equaliser and praises referee for key stoppage time call in Fleetwood draw

Phil Parkinson hailed his Sunderland players for snatching a crucial point against Fleetwood Town, but admitted he would reflect on a poor start to the game ahead of another crucial clash at Coventry City.

Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 11:06 pm

Max Power stepped up with a vital goal with what was virtually the last kick of the game, firing past Alex Cairns in the 97th minute of the game.

It prevented Fleetwood from drawing level with Sunderland in the table and keeps the Black Cats within striking distance of the top two.

Parkinson was thrilled with the patience of his players, but couldn’t hide his frustrations with their disappointing early showing.

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“We got there in the end,” Parkinson said.

“It took a long time and I'm disappointed with the start, I've got to be honest with you.

“I thought we were lackadaisical first ten minutes and gave a team who came with a clear gameplan the opportunity to implement that in terms of taking the sting out of the game, timewasting etc, getting behind the ball.

“It took us a while to get into our stride and then we started stepping in with the ball, being a bit more progressive in our play.

“The second half was just about being patient again, keep trying to do the right things.

“We changed the shape to try and get back in it.

“Eventually we got a goal from our captain, and you need your big players to step up when it matters most.

“I'm delighted to get the point, I'm disappointed with the start and we will have a good look at that in the next couple of days, and come out stronger against Coventry.

“I said to the lads, I've got to look at every aspect of the game.

“I said at the end that I am frustrated, in the first ten minutes we gave Fleetwood a real lift in the game, but well done for showing that character and keep plugging away.”

Parkinson also said that he was pleased to see the referee add on the crucial additional time after persistent timewasting for the visiting side.

“You always wonder whether the referee is going to be fair with the time he adds on,” Parkinson said.

“There was at least six minutes.

“I asked for ten, I'd have settled for eight.

“They were going mad when he gave six but I was a bit disappointed.

“Joking aside, if a team comes and does that, you've got to make sure that time is added on at the time.

“I was frustrated, but in football you do whatever it takes to win. That’s what they did. It’s a dog-eat-dog industry we’re in and you’ve got to do what it takes to win. Getting the goal intensified the way they set out to do things, but not allowing the frustration to get to us was key and I think in the main we kept moving the ball quickly and trying to do the right things.”