Richardson shines as fans chant Darren who?
IF ever Sunderland needed a performance from Kieran Richardson this was it and he delivered. In the absence of Darren Bent, following the striker's £24m departure to Aston Villa last Tuesday, Richardson was asked to play the support role behind lone front-man Asamoah Gyan. It is a position he prefers, but rarely has the opportunity to play, and at Bloomfield Road he showed why he likes it so much. With the worry among supporters centred on where the goals will come from following the sale of Bent, Richardson struck his first goals of the season to put Sunderland on course for a much-needed victory. His first arrived courtesy of Gyan's well timed through pass inside quarter of an hour. The former Manchester United midfielder then slotted beyond goalkeeper Richard Kingson. And 11 minutes later he had a second. Bolo Zenden, back in the team and holding midfield, cleared from deep inside his own half. Gyan's workrate led to Steed Malbranque picking up the loose ball on the left and he charged down the line before slotting behind the defence. Richardson latched on and struck low inside Kingson's bottom right corner. There were some late nerves after referee Lee Mason awarded Blackpool a soft penalty when David Vaughan was deemed to have been unfairly blocked by Nedum Onuoha. Charlie Adam's lowly struck spot-kick with four minutes remaining raised the prospect of the home team snatching a late draw. After losing to Notts County in the FA Cup, snatching a late equaliser against Newcastle United and the surprise exit of Bent, Sunderland knew about the importance of winning at Bloomfield Road. And while Craig Gordon, the Sunderland goalkeeper had to make three exceptional saves to thwart Charlie Adam and Luke Varney, the Black Cats gave the Bent-hating away supporters a happy ending to a testing week. BLACKPOOL (4-3-3): Kingson (Rachubka 56); Eardley, Cathcart, Evatt, Crainey (Ormerod 46); Vaughan, Adam, Grandin (Harewood 62); Phillips, Taylor-Fletcher, Varney. Subs: Southern, Baptiste, Euell, Sylvestre. SUNDERLAND (4-4-1-1): Gordon; Onuoha, Bramble, Ferdinand, Bardsley (Colback 62); Elmohamady, Henderson, Zenden, Malbranque (Riveros 80); Richardson; Gyan. Subs: Mignolet (gk), Angeleri, Da Silva, Reid, Mensah..
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