Match Report: SAFC 2-1 Blackburn Rovers

Sunderland provided their fans with a late Christmas present after coming from behind to snatch all three points inside stoppage time against Blackburn Rovers.

Substitute Ellis Simms picked up the ball inside the Blackburn box before expertly taking his time and curling his shot into Thomas Kaminski’s bottom left-hand corner.

The teams were all square at the interval albeit Sunderland dominated for large parts of the first half. A Ross Stewart penalty cancelled out his earlier own goal at the other end.

The visitors carved out the first opportunity of the match in the opening couple of minutes but Bradley Dack’s effort on the edge of the area sailed over Anthony Patterson’s crossbar.

It was the hosts who piled on the pressure for the remainder of the half and almost broke the deadlock inside the first 15 minutes when Patrick Roberts' cross from the right came inches away from connecting with the head of Jack Clarke at the back post.

Blackburn took the lead against the run of play when Stewart diverted Tyler Morton’s free kick from the left-hand side past his own goalkeeper after 18 minutes.

Only a few minutes later and Stewart was in the thick of the action again; smartly winning a penalty to level the scores after being tripped by John Buckley inside the area.

Stewart stepped up and calmly placed the ball low and hard into Kaminski’s bottom left-hand corner to notch his seventh goal of the season.

Sunderland came close to taking the lead inside the closing stages of the first half; Clarke skilful skipped past a couple of Blackburn players before being brought down on the edge of the area. Roberts’ kicked up the loose ball and fired just wide of Kaminski’s near post.

Sunderland started the second half as they finished the first, on the attack. Lynden Gooch forced Kaminski into a neat save, but Stewart was unable to direct the rebound beyond the Rovers goalkeeper.

The Black Cats came close again half way through the second half when an unmarked Stewart was picked out by Clarke inside the area, but the Scotsman’s shot was gathered by Kaminski at his front post.

Rovers almost took the lead against the run of play, but Patterson was alert to pull off a brilliant save to deny Morton from close range.

An inspired Tony Mowbray substitute sealed victory for the Black Cats inside a lively Stadium of Light; replacement Simms cut inside and cooly slotted the ball past Kaminski to claim all three points in added time.

Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Cirkin (Hume 50), Evans ©, Ballard, Roberts (Simms 80), Gooch (Wright 80), O’Nien, Stewart, Amad, Clarke, Neil.

Subs not used: Bass, Matete, Ba, Michut

Goalscorers: Stewart 22 (pen), Simms 90

Blackburn Rovers: Kaminski, Pickering, Ayala, Hyam ©, Morton, Gallagher (Hirst 76), Rankin-Costello, Hedges, Buckley, Brereton Diaz, Dack (Travis 76)

Subs not used: Pears, Wharton, Markanday, Garrett, Phillips.

Goalscorer: Stewart 18 (OG)

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