Sunderland 3-3 Bolton: Simon Grayson loses job after Black Cats draw
By Press Association
Last Updated: 31/10/17 11:01pm
Sunderland twice came from behind to draw 3-3 against Bolton but it was not enough to prevent Simon Grayson from losing his job after the Black Cats equalled an unwanted record.
The battle of the Championship's bottom two saw both teams take the lead and lose it before Paddy McNair levelled things up for the final time with 11 minutes remaining.
The result meant the Black Cats tied an English league record of going 19 matches without a win on home soil, and Sunderland swiftly announced the dismissal of Grayson after the match.
Grayson had taken over from David Moyes in the summer, but after one win in 15 league games, his tenure came to an end on Tuesday night.
Former Newcastle forward Sammy Ameobi put the visitors ahead in the 32nd minute only for Lewis Grabban to level just before half-time, and then put the hosts ahead with his second goal 13 minutes into the second half.
The Trotters turned the match on its head when Gary Madine scored two minutes later and Karl Henry added a third in the 67th minute, but Sunderland side battled back - and stayed above the bottom club - when McNair struck from 20 yards.
If there was one thing worse than Sunderland's dreadful home record then it was Bolton's away-day woe in the Championship, so something would surely have to give.
Wanderers had not won on their travels in the Championship in 32 matches, dating back to April 2015, and Sunderland started like a team believing they could make the most of that.
Despite a few decent enough moves involving Callum McManaman, Jonny Williams and Aiden McGeady, there was no real threat posed to Ben Alnwick in the Bolton goal.
The little good work Sunderland had achieved was all undone in an instant. A routine ball forward was won in the air by Gateshead-born Madine and the ball fell invitingly for Ameobi, who was allowed to control without anyone near him and then fire in a 25-yard effort that defender Marc Wilson and goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter should have done more to stop.
Immediately the Sunderland fans started demanding Grayson's sacking as well as directing 'You're not fit to wear the shirt' chants at their players.
Just when it seemed they would enter half-time a goal down, Grabban struck. The striker, on loan from Bournemouth, slotted a tidy finish beyond Alnwick after latching on to a fine through-ball from Didier Ndong.
Sunderland, after Williams made way for second striker James Vaughan, had penalty shouts waved away when the substitute looked to have been prevented from getting on the end of Grabban's cross by Mark Beevers.
Then the drama. Grabban put Sunderland ahead, after Bryan Oviedo rolled a pass across the face of goal for him to finish after another nice through-ball from Ndong.
The lead lasted less than two minutes because Sunderland's defence failed to deal with a high ball. Ameobi won the first header, David Wheater the second and Madine was perfectly placed to slot in the equaliser.
Bolton were gifted the lead. Ndong, who had played well up to this point, attempted an ill-advised back-pass. Antonee Robinson cut it out and delivered a cross to the back post, where Henry was on hand to side-foot beyond Ruiter.
But Sunderland were not finished and McNair, six minutes after his introduction, drilled in another equaliser from 20 yards to make for a frantic finale - but neither side could forge ahead again.
Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain: "Simon and his team have worked tirelessly to achieve the best for the football club during their time here. mWhile we hoped that Simon's experience in the Football League would help us to a successful season, results have not been good enough for a club of this stature.
"In order for us to improve upon our current position, we believe a fundamental change is necessary."
Phil Parkinson: "I feel for Simon. He is a tremendous manager, with a great record. Any manager who came here would find it a tough challenge. I had to turn Bolton round from a relegated team. Changing that mentality after relegation is difficult, but he will be back because there will be a lot of people interested in him.
"I shook hands as you normally do. You normally go for a drink in the office. I will probably just get on the coach and give him a call later in the week."