Borini rescue act for Sunderland
Published 02/03/2016 | 02:30
A magnificent late strike from substitute Fabio Borini rescued a point for Sunderland and lifted them out of the bottom three for only the second time this season as Crystal Palace extended their winless run to 11 league games.
For Palace, this felt like a defeat. For the Black Cats, it felt like a victory. It was a strange game in which the home side had seemed in complete control after taking the lead through Dame N'Doye, but stopped putting pressure on Palace when they had the ball, switched off at the back and were punished.
Connor Wickham scored five goals in three games at the end of the season in 2014 to keep Sunderland in the Premier League, but his two in six minutes here for Palace left the Black Cats in deep trouble. They appeared to have run out of ideas, the crowd were moaning loudly as passes went astray, but then came a truly wonderful moment for Borini, who was only on the pitch as an earlier sub, Lee Cattermole, had to go off with a nasty cut above his eye.
Picking the ball up wide on the right, he took one touch and from a seemingly impossible angle, smashed a shot into the far corner, just ten yards in from the touchline. Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was caught completely by surprise.
It was a game low on quality, but the entertainment was high, as the action switched from one end of the pitch to the other.
Palace had some bright moments, Wilfried Zaha wriggling free down the left and right, but he lacked a quality finish. Jordon Mutch was also teed up by Yannick Bolasie, but his low shot only found the side-netting. The visitors' best moment though came from a set-piece as Yohan Cabaye's accurate corner was met by the head of Scott Dann, but Vito Mannone tipped it over the bar.
Sunderland soon got the luck they needed, as Jermain Defoe teed up N'Doye and his shot deflected off Dann, wrong footed Hennessey and looped into the net. Defoe almost grabbed a second before half-time, as did Younes Kaboul when Damien Delaney's header hit him, but flew over.
Pardew needed his players to dig him out of trouble and they did when Wickham fired in an equaliser off the post. His second was a poacher's strike, volleying home after the ball was headed down by Mile Jedinak. Borini, though, stole the headlines.
Crystal Palace 2