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Sunderland 1 Portsmouth 1: match report
Published : 12 Dec 2009 17:10:21
Younes Kaboul struck a last-gasp equaliser to lift the gloom that has been surrounding relegation-threatened Portsmouth - and was then promptly sent off. Kaboul cancelled out Darrren Bent's first-half goal when he struck from close range following Jamie O'Hara's corner and was then dismissed for peeling off his shirt in celebration. Sunderland 2 Blackburn Rovers 1: match reportArsenal 4 Portsmouth 1: match reportEarlier, Sunderland striker Darren Bent's campaign for a place in the England squad for next summer's World Cup finals gathered momentum when he scored his tenth goal of the season as Portsmouth's relegation worries deepened. The former Tottenham striker ensured that England goalkeeper David James made a miserable return to action following a seven-match lay-off when he beat his international colleague from close range to leave Portsmouth rooted to the bottom of the Premier League. Bent had gone close to putting Steve Bruce's side ahead in the opening exchanges when he rose above Younes Kaboul to meet Andy Reid's cross, but his header drifted just wide of James' post. James made a meal out of dealing with Kenwyne Jones' 20-yarder when he let his tame shot squirm from his grasp but no one in Sunderland colours was around to exploit his error. James had precious little to do in the opening exchanges but found himself picking the ball out of the back of the net in the 23rd minute when Bent issued another timely reminder of his attacking prowess to England head coach Fabio Capello. While Bent will take the credit, the architect of the goal was Jordan Henderson who nut-megged Marc Wilson before crossing the Andy Reid who laid the ball into the path of Bent who turned and drilled a low shot beyond James from seven yards out. Henderson nearly doubled the lead minutes when maverick right-back Nyron Nosworthy, sporting a head bandage, rampaged forward before pulling the ball back from the by-line but his clipped slot drifted inches wide. After the break, Bent should have doubled his tally but went for precision rather than power following more good work by Nosworthy and Richard Hughes slid in to clear his goal-bound effort. Portsmouth, with Kanu spearheading Avram Grant's attack, rarely troubled Sunderland's defence with Marton Fulop's only noteworthy save coming from a Kaboul piledriver. Reid almost doubled the lead late on when his 25-yard free-kick struck the crossbar as fears for cash-strapped Portsmouth's future on and off the field grew. But then Kaboul, who turned down a move from Tottenham to Sunderland last year, was pushed up from defence and after having a shot deflected wide by Paulo Da Silva he capitalised on woeful defending to thump the ball in from close range. The Frenchman, booked earlier for fouling Bent, received his marching orders after his bare-chested celebrations with travelling supporters.