Sunderland 1-2 Cardiff: Black Cats beaten at home again
By Press Association
Last Updated: 23/09/17 6:35pm
Cardiff returned to winning ways to stay with Sky Bet Championship leaders Leeds after defeating Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats, without a win since last December on home soil when they were struggling in the Premier League, slipped into the bottom three after another frustrating afternoon on Wearside.
Sunderland had briefly threatened to claim a point when Lynden Gooch scored his first league goal for the club with a penalty seven minutes after half-time.
But Cardiff, who had opened the scoring in the seventh minute through Craig Bryson, reclaimed the lead with a penalty of their own, scored by Joe Ralls 17 minutes from the end.
Cardiff sprayed the ball around more confidently and regularly had efforts on goal during the opening 20 minutes, while the home side struggled to make any impression on Neil Etheridge's goal.
The Bluebirds did not have to wait long to hit the opener and it came through a clinical counter after one of Sunderland's better attacks of the half. When Adam Matthews burst down the right and delivered a low cross towards Gooch, the ball eventually went to safety and Etheridge took a quick goal-kick into the Sunderland half.
Striker Kenneth Zohore, a real handful for the home defence, made the first flick and the lively Nathaniel Mendez-Laing helped it on again into the path of Bryson, who struck first time beyond Robbin Ruiter.
It was a cool finish and lifted Cardiff. The only surprise was that they did not add a second during their spell of heavy pressure. Midfielders Aron Gunnarsson and Bryson had efforts go close moments after the opener when sections of Sunderland's crowd started to boo and criticise the club's owner Ellis Short again - and that was inside 13 minutes.
Sunderland were sparked briefly into life after the restart when Gooch took matters into his own hands. After forcing Etheridge into a save from a tight angle he was hauled down in the area eight minutes into the second half by Cardiff skipper Sean Morrison. Gooch sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
But Morrison made amends with 17 minutes remaining. He was gifted a penalty when he was shoved to the floor by Lamine Kone, who was booked, and then Ralls converted with power to reclaim the lead and that was how it stayed.
Simon Grayson: "I'm frustrated again. You look at things, prepare for a game, at 2pm today we showed them a presentation what Cardiff will do ... flick-ons, runners from midfield, showed them what was required. Then six minutes in and you are one down precisely for what we showed them. They have to take responsibility stay with runners, do what is required. You always know teams will press you, we didn't do things quick enough.
"After going a goal down we responded quite well, we grew into the game as the first half went on. Unfortunately we still went one down. We got the goal and looked like they will get goal but bad decision making from Lamine and it was difficult to get in the game again. The supporters stayed with the team. But if you make bad decisions then you will be punished. The players need to learn from mistakes."
Neil Warnock: "I thought we deserved it if I'm honest. We had a knockback when they scored the equaliser which was a silly goal to give away, but instead of going under we just got stronger and we really started playing again and it was just if we could get the goal. We had a great chance to win the game in the first half and their goalkeeper has made two great saves in the second half, dear me, I don't know how he got down to one of them.
"It was an obvious penalty in the first half but you can't speak to them so you just make sure that we keep on top of it. I said to Mozza (Morrison) you've got to keep talking to him about the situation and hope he gets in the right position to see it, and he was in a fabulous position to see it, looking straight at it - and Kone still mauls him down. It didn't make any sense."