ONE step ahead, one step again into the underside three for Chris Coleman and Sunderland who had been held by ten-man Birmingham on the Stadium of Mild.
Every week after the valuable win over Fulham which had ended a year-long look ahead to a house victory, Coleman’s facet had been unable to beat the underside membership.
And so they needed to come from behind after Sam Gallagher gave former Sunderland assistant supervisor Steve Cotterill an sudden lead on Wearside.
This was solely their third level on their travels this season.
Sunderland high scorer Lewis Grabban grabbed his 12th of the season to share the factors however after on-loan Southampton striker Gallagher was despatched off for 2 bookings, Cotterill’s males had been left hanging on.
The Blue boss stated: “We deserved the three factors. It has been a troublesome begin to the season. We’ve got had a couple of setbacks and I’m certain we are able to cope with a couple of extra.”
Coleman admitted it felt like a possibility misplaced. He stated: “Final week was a pleasant win for us nevertheless it was by no means going to resolve all our issues. It was only a step ahead.
“This was at all times going to be a distinct recreation. We’re in a dogfight and for some purpose we seemed nervous. I anticipated extra in possession and I have no idea why we had been tentative. We seemed nervous and lacked confidence.
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“This seems like a possibility missed however I’m happy we didn’t fold after going behind and we got here by means of adversity. I simply anticipated us to go on and win it.”
Grabban ought to have given the house facet the lead within the 10th minute when he touched Donald Love’s sensible centre throughout the face of aim and narrowly vast.
Seven minutes later, the guests went forward when Gallagher was in a position to energy into the world from George Honeyman’s error and beat centre-backs Tyias Browning, John O’Shea and Marc Wilson to a by means of ball.
O’Shea blocked Gallagher’s first effort however he was in a position to faucet house the rebound from shut vary.
However Birmingham’s lead solely lasted 5 minutes earlier than Grabban scored from one other messy transfer, with Cotterill furiously claiming Cheikh Ndoye was fouled within the build-up.
The on-loan Bournemouth striker created the preliminary opening within the space when he performed a chip into Love who utterly mis-hit his volley into the trail of the grateful Grabban who smashed the ball previous David Stockdale.
The equaliser ought to have given the house facet contemporary impetus solely Grabban and Gibson managed lengthy lengthy efforts which each went vast.
With livewire Jota working to conjure openings, Birmingham had 12 pictures earlier than the break, forcing Robbin Ruiter to avoid wasting on the ft Gallagher, who additionally utterly missed an in depth vary header.
Though Jota and Jeremie Boga began to wane after the break, the pair nonetheless had their moments and Birmingham continued to create probabilities.
Former Mackem favorite Craig Gardner hit a characteristically thumping free-kick from 25 yards which solely simply cleared the nervy Ruiter’s crossbar.
And Gallagher was harshly booked when he fell making an attempt to keep away from the keeper’s unconvincing problem after Gardner had lobbed a neat ball over the Sunderland back-line.
Strike pair James Vaughan and Grabban each hit disappointing efforts vast earlier than Stockdale pulled off an necessary save to tip George Honeyman’s intelligent chip on to the bar.
Birmingham suffered an enormous blow halfway by means of the second-half when Gallagher was dismissed for his second yellow card after catching Vaughan with a late problem on the midway line.
Cotterill stated: “They had been two actually delicate bookings and it’s actually harsh.
He didn’t dive and he didn’t deserve a reserving for the deal with both. Sam is an trustworthy boy.”
Coleman then made a three-man substitution in a bid to elevate his facet for the ultimate 16 minutes and though the tempo of younger strike pair Josh Maja and Joel Asoro examined the guests’ back-line, they managed to outlive.
They had been additionally lucky to not be diminished to 9 males when Harlee Dean pulled again Maja by the shorts on the fringe of the world. Referee Oliver Langford confirmed a yellow card and Matthews hit the ensuing weak free-kick at Stockdale.