Belfast Telegraph

Blues fight back for point

Birmingham scored two goals in the final 12 minutes to secure a 2-2 draw against 10-man Sunderland in their Barclays Premier League opener at the Stadium of Light.

Darren Bent gave the hosts the lead from the penalty spot in the 24th minute after Stephen Carr fouled Fraizer Campbell, and the veteran full-back headed the ball over his own keeper 11 minutes after half-time to put Sunderland two up.

By that point they were already a man down following two yellow cards for new captain Lee Cattermole in the first half and the visitors eventually took full advantage, with Scott Dann heading in a soft first and Liam Ridgewell grabbing the equaliser two minutes from time.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce gave full debuts to keeper Simon Mignolet, defenders Nedum Onuoha and Titus Bramble and winger Ahmed El Mohamady. Birmingham handed a debut to keeper Ben Foster.

Chances were scarce early on but a break from Bent set Sunderland away. Referee Anthony Taylor waved play on when Dann looked to have fouled the striker and, as Campbell surged into the area, he was felled by Carr.

Bent stepped up to power the penalty into the corner.

Sunderland were reduced to 10 men two minutes before half-time when Cattermole, who had earlier been booked, clattered Lee Bowyer from behind and was sent off but in the 56th minute they went two up.

Having conceded the penalty, Carr stretched to get a head to Jordan Henderson's free-kick only to direct it over his own keeper and into the net. But, with 12 minutes to go, Birmingham were back in it.

Sebastian Larsson swung in a cross from the left that was headed down by Dann and right through Mignolet.

And with time running out Larsson's cross from the right evaded everyone before finding Ridgewell at the far post.


From Belfast Telegraph