Adam [pen] 86
Richardson 15, 36.
Sunderland showed there’s life after Darren Bent as they moved within touching distance of a Champions League spot after two Kieran Richardson goals overcame a spirited Blackpool side.
There was a touch of fortune about the first. Not in the finish, a fine sliding shot past Richard Kingston after a defence splitting Asamoah Gyan pass but in the fact that the home side were down to ten men as Neil Eardley received treatment following an earlier accidental boot in the face from the goalscorer.
The away side were then grateful to their keeper Craig Gordon who faced down Luke Varney before pushing over a Charlie Adam drive. Steed Malbranque made Blackpool pay for some hesitation at the back, using his head to neatly keep the ball in before sliding a controlled pass that Richardson did just enough with to squeeze inside Kingston’s near post. Gordon then maintained Sunderland’s two-goal half time advantage with a fine save from an Adam free kick.
Pushing forward in the second Blackpool had sufficient half chances to always be in with a shout, but the goal they got was the result of a dubious refereeing decision, Lee Mason deciding David Vaughan’s tumble over Nedum Onuoha was a foul. Adam stroked home the resulting penalty, which with Liverpool seeking his signature may prove to be his last act as a Tangerine. For Sunderland, Steve Bruce now has around ten days to obtain a quality striker to play alongside Gyan before the Wearsiders face fourth place Chelsea. Victory that night and who knows what might be achieved at the end of the season?