Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Strike Pairing Get Cats off the Hook

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Strike Pairing Get Cats off the Hook

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter's

Sunderland ............... 5 Wolves ...................... 2 FOR a man who had just seen his team hit five goals on their way to victory, Steve Bruce did not look happy. Relieved, yes; happy, no. The scoreline suggested that Sunderland swept aside Wolves, managed by ex-Wearside boss Mick McCarthy, with ease, but the reality was very different.

In fact, it was only Sunderland's razor-sharp front pairing of Darren Bent and Kenwyne Jones that got the Black Cats' defence off the hook when the going got tough.

Two penalties - both won by Bent - put Sunderland in control until five minutes of chaotic defending allowed Wolves to pull level through a John Mensah own-goal and a Kevin Doyle strike, and suddenly it was game on.

But Jones put Sunderland back in front, before Michael Turner made sure of the points and then an owngoal from Michael Mancienne in injury-time gave the scoreline a lopsided look.

Bruce admitted: "I don't think anyone could make any sense of that game. It was one of those crazy ones.

"If you were a neutral, it was a decent spectacle, but if you're a manager it was just unreal.

"I don't feel like I should do after a 5-2 win.

"Everybody makes mistakes, but when we have a wobble, we must have the basics within us to see that wobble through.

"Thankfully, we've responded. We got two or three goals out of nothing in the end.

"There were times when it got back to 2-2 that I thought we were in trouble, but we've seen it through." The fact that Sunderland saw it through was thanks largely to their superior strikeforce.

While Wolves dominated possession and forced more corners than their hosts, Sunderland offered the biggest goal threat with almost twice as many shots on target as the visitors. And in the Premier League, quality strikers are a must.

Bruce added: "Up front we have got a cutting edge now. …

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