Sunderland on this day: Wickham’s debut strike, Taylor’s 45-yard stunner and a draw at Anfield

Connor Wickham watches his first Sunderland goal hit the back of the Villa net, after beating keeper Shay Given and defender Richard Dunne. Picture by Peter Berry
Connor Wickham watches his first Sunderland goal hit the back of the Villa net, after beating keeper Shay Given and defender Richard Dunne. Picture by Peter Berry
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Sunderland face a tough clash against Premier League high-fliers Arsenal at the Stadium of Light, looking for much-needed points.

Here we look back at the last five games played on this date, October 29, including a hard-fought draw with Aston Villa featuring Connor Wickham’s first goal in red and white, a thumping defeat by a Matt Taylor-inspired Portsmouth and a draw at Anfield.

Sunderland 2 Aston Villa 2

October 29, 2011

Sunderland twice came back behind to earn a hard-won point at the Stadium of Light, with Connor Wickham scored his first goal in red and white colours and Stephane Sessegnon getting his second goal in as many games.

Former Black Cats’ hero Darren Bent was at the centre of attention on his first return to the Stadium of Light since defecting to Villa Park in January.

But the England striker – booed throughout – barely featured.

Instead it was Stiliyan Petrov who produced a moment of magic to put the visitors ahead in the 20th minute. He was helped by slack marking but he still deserved every credit for the quality of his finish, curling a left-foot shot into the absolute top left-hand corner of Mignolet’s goal from 25 yards.

Sunderland responded and Wickham grabbed an equaliser in the 38th minute when he took advantage of a clever Sessegnon pass to drive a low shot across Shay Given from the left.

It was his first goal for the club since an £8.1million summer switch from Ipswich.

Sunderland were the dominant side throughout,but Villa always looked dangerous on the counterattack. Midway through the second half, Sunderland enjoyed a purple patch but could not finish off a host of chances and were made to pay in the 84th minute when Richard Dunne headed home a Gabriel Agbonlahor free-kick from the left past sub keeper Keiren Westwood.

But Sunderland got what the least that their play deserved when they equalised just four minutes later – Seb Larsson putting in a good free-kick from the right and Sessegnon heading home from four yards out – Given able to get a fingertip to the ball but unable to prevent it crossing the line.

SUNDERLAND: Mignolet (Westwood), O’Shea (Bardsley), Richardson, Turner, Brown, Colback, Larsson, Vaughan (Meyler), Bendtner, Wickham, Sessegnon

ASTON VILLA: Given, Hutton, Warnock, Herd, Dunne, Collins, Petrov, N’Zogbia (Albrighton), Bent, Heskey, Agbonlahor

Att: 37,062

Sunderland 1 Portsmouth 4

October 29, 2005

Mick McCarthy’s Black Cats endured a miserable defeat, despite having taken an early lead and held it until the break.

Dean Whitehead gave Sunderland the perfect start, coolly converting a fourth-minute penalty, following a handball offence by Brian Priske as he challenged striker Andy Gray.

Kelvin Davis prevented an own goal from Alan Stubbs. The experienced defender attempted a header and the keeper slipped, but Davis recovered to keep the ball from crossing the line.

Sunderland’s struggling defence fell apart after the break.

Pompey levelled on 48 minutes as Zvonimir Vukic slammed home a Matt Taylor flick, then Stubbs and Davis combined calamitously to allow Taylor to tap into an empty net for the visitors’ second goal.

Taylor ensured Portsmouth’s win with an incredible strike on 68 minutes, spotting Davis off his line and sending a magnificent, curling effort over the keeper from 45 yards.

Dario Silva hit the fourth, beating Nyron Nosworthy to a cross from Taylor.

Sunderland, with just one win, fell back into the drop zone as Pompey escaped, thanks to their second victory.

SUNDERLAND: Davis, Nosworthy, Hoyte, Caldwell, Stubbs, Miller (Robinson), Lawrence (Stead), Whitehead, Gray, Elliott, Welsh

PORTSMOUTH: Ashdown, Priske, Vignal, Primus, Stefanovic, Hughes, Griffin, O’Neil, Vukic (Viafara), Silva (Mbesuma), Taylor (Todorov)

Att: 34,926

Manchester City 1 Sunderland 1

October 29, 1988

Denis Smith’s Red and Whites slipped three places to 13th in Division Two, despite an encouraging performance and point at Maine Road.

The sides were well-matched throughout, and Sunderland showed their quality to make the breakthrough on 29 minutes, thanks to a goal from midfielder Gordon Armstrong.

City, though, quickly levelled as left-back Andy Hinchcliffe beat visiting keeper Iain Hesford.

MANCHESTER CITY: Dibble, Seagraves, Hinchcliffe, Gayle, Brightwell, Redmond, White, Gleghorn, Bradshaw, Biggins (Beckford), McNab

SUNDERLAND: Hesford, Gray, Agboola, Ord, MacPhail, Doyle, Owers, Armstrong, Whitehurst, Gabbiadini, Pascoe

Att: 22,398

Sunderland 3 Oldham Athletic 1

October 29, 1977

Sunderland secured a third successive win to climb to 11th place in the Second Division table.

Shaun Elliott made the breakthrough for Jimmy Adamson’s men, pouncing eight minutes before the break.

Defender Jackie Ashurst hit a rare goal to double the lead on 56 minutes, and Bob Lee added a killer third goal four minutes later.

Jimmy Frizzell’s side pulled one back through Steve Taylor on 78 minutes, but Oldham never threatened a comeback.

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

OLDHAM: Platt, Wood, Blair, Bell, Hicks, Holt, Taylor, Bernard, Young, Chapman, Groves

Att: 24,712

Liverpool 1 Sunderland 1

October 29, 1960

Sunderland’s run without a win reached 12 in all competitions, but the Rokermen showed good spirit to come from behind for a Second Division point at Anfield.

Beaten 4-3 at Brentford in their first ever League Cup tie just days before, Sunderland looked in trouble when Jimmy Harrower’s 52nd-minute penalty gave Bob Shankly’s Reds the advantage.

But Ian Lawther levelled eight minute later to secure a seventh draw of the season for the visitors.

LIVERPOOL: Slater, Molyneux, Byrne, Wheeler, White, Leishman, Lewis, Hunt, Dickson, Harrower, A’Court

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

Att: 30,612