Sunderland 3-3 Middlesbrough: Spoils shared in dramatic derby
Last Updated: 24/02/18 6:45pm
A dramatic late equaliser from Callum McManaman denied Middlesbrough as Sunderland earned a 3-3 draw at the Stadium of Light.
Bottom club Sunderland had Jake Clarke-Salter sent off and Middlesbrough's Adama Traore followed him down the tunnel before the half-time whistle had even been blown, which paved the way for goals galore after the break.
Sunderland had the lead courtesy of Joel Asoro's 11th-minute opener and there was hope on Wearside that they could end a run of five games without a win.
But Middlesbrough hit back through Patrick Bamford and a penalty from Grant Leadbitter before Jonny Williams levelled things up again five minutes later.
Bamford scored his second goal with 22 minutes remaining to restore Middlesbrough's advantage and 3-2 was how it stayed until deep into six minutes of stoppage time when McManaman struck, denying Boro a place in the top six for now.
Sunderland had looked promising before the first-half red cards gave the north-east derby occasion added spice.
Their positive start was rewarded with the opener. Adam Matthews' long throw into the area saw Josh Maja's back somehow flick the ball past George Friend and Ben Gibson. Asoro was able to get between Daniel Ayala and Ryan Shotton to finish.
Asoro and Maja's teenage energy caused problems and they were only handed the chance together because of Ashley Fletcher's unavailability against his parent club.
Sunderland looked in control but then Clarke-Salter's reckless lunge in the 24th minute completely missed the ball and wiped out Traore and the red card was immediately shown.
Traore's every touch was booed by Sunderland fans after that although he was only on the pitch for 13 more minutes because of his own rush of blood.
Moments after he wasted a fantastic chance from just inside the area by missing the target, he became involved in a tangle near the post that led to the Middlesbrough winger raising his forearm to Bryan Oviedo. Referee Tim Robinson issued his second red card after speaking with his assistant.
Traore may be charged by the Football Association too after he had to be held back from complaining to the fourth official as he left the field.
Middlesbrough had to find a way of getting Britt Assombalonga involved more after he was handed the chance to replace Rudy Gestede, who will miss the rest of the season with a fractured ankle.
The second half was even more frantic. Within eight minutes of the restart Middlesbrough had gone ahead.
Bamford's brilliance pulled it level after 50 minutes when he turned in the area after controlling Friend's knockdown. Leadbitter then put the visitors ahead from the spot after Assombalonga was brought down by goalkeeper Lee Camp.
Sunderland soon had it level again when Oviedo got to the line and his cut-back was side-footed inside the bottom corner by Williams.
They fell behind for a second time when Bamford, who had also wasted another chance, rounded Camp and then found the empty net moments after he was switched to the middle.
There were chances at both ends after that but it was McManaman's back-post volley from Oviedo's deep corner that earned a share of the spoils.
Chris Coleman: "If we want to keep our home supporters with us, to keep them coming, then we have to keep doing what we did today and against Bolton. If we want to make the last dozen games uncomfortable, make it feel like five seasons long, then keep turning up like we were pre-Bolton. We have to go for it and stay in our games. That sends good messages and vibes, we did that today.
"If we do that more often than not we will get points. It's not easy but it's very doable. There will be a time when we win and it will change the face of everything."
Tony Pulis: "We are disappointed... they score in the 97th minute not the 96th," said Pulis. "When the corner comes in you expect it to be defended better. We conceded two goals from a long throw and a corner. That is disappointing.
"There's really good things about this team I like, but other things they have to really toughen up to. Seeing games out, seeing things through is one of them. It's the mental stuff, the crowd with the last opportunity of the game is when you puff your chest out and dig in, concentrate, I am disappointed for the fans today."