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Campbell back with a bang
Published : 29 Jan 2012 15:47:01
Fraizer Campbell emerged from his latest bout of injury misery to keep Sunderland's FA Cup dreams alive with a 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough.
The former Manchester United striker was introduced as a half-time substitute, in the process making his first senior appearance since August 2010 as a result of two serious knee injuries.
He needed just 18 minutes to make an impact, sliding the ball past Boro keeper Danny Coyne from James McClean's pinpoint pass to cancel out Barry Robson's first-half opener.
Sunderland gradually worked their way into the game and might have gone ahead, only for Sebastian Larsson to head wastefully wide after Stephane Sessegnon had tricked his way past Robson and crossed from the right.
Middlesbrough took the lead in spectacular style with 16 minutes gone. Marvin Emnes made life difficult for defender John O'Shea and he could only loop a weak header towards Robson on the left side of the penalty area. The former Celtic midfielder needed no second invitation and unleashed a stinging volley which flew past Simon Mignolet and into the bottom corner.
However, the game erupted into controversy with six minutes of the half remaining after the Black Cats thought they had dragged themselves back into it. Craig Gardner controlled Kieran Richardson's cross with a hint of handball and fired home off the inside of the far post with striker Connor Wickham watching the ball home at close hand.
But the celebrations were ended abruptly by a flag, and after consulting his assistant, referee Kevin Friend ruled out the effort, apparently for offside against Wickham, despite the fact that he had not intervened.
Sunderland's mood might have darkened further on the stroke of half-time when Lukas Jutkiewicz found himself in on goal, but Mignolet saved his initial effort and when Faris Haroun fed the rebound back to him, he fired harmlessly across goal.
The home side levelled in stunning style when McClean ran on to Robson's poor back-pass before squaring for Campbell, who slipped his shot unerringly past Coyne to send a sigh of relief around the stadium.
Play switched rapidly from end to end, but neither side was able to find the killer blow in a rousing finale during which Middlesbrough's Rhys Williams was perhaps fortunate to see yellow rather than red for a wild challenge on David Vaughan.