SUNDERLAND: Sunderland handed former manager Mick McCarthy a miserable return to the Stadium of Light as Kenwyne Jones’ double-strike inspired a 5-2 win over Wolverhampton on Sunday.
McCarthy spent three years in charge at Sunderland before being sacked in 2006 after a dismal campaign in the Premier League.
There were no fond memories for McCarthy to take back to Wolverhampton from Wearside this time either as his side squandered a point after battling back from 2-0 down to 2-2.
Penalties from Darren Bent and Trinidad and Tobago striker Jones had given Steve Bruce’s Sunderland a two-goal lead just after half-time.
John Mensah’s own goal and a Kevin Doyle strike gave McCarthy hope of making a point.
But Jones restored Sunderland’s lead with a superb individual effort before Michael Turner’s header and a Michael Mancienne own goal compounded McCarthy’s misery and lifted the Black Cats into eighth place in the table.
McCarthy admitted Sunderland’s third goal had been the decisive moment.
“I think we got stretched, we had the game by the scruff of the neck then and our two centre-backs didn’t deal with the first ball, and that really is the difference,” he said.
“We really played well, I thought we could win it at 2-2 and I think we deserved something from the game.”
Bruce added: “We go from the ridiculous to the sublime at times but the one thing we’ve got is a threat up front. It got us out of jail.
“Defensively we have to improve because there are times when we go into meltdown.
“We’re delighted we have three points but at times there were alarming mistakes we made.”
Bent tormented the Wolves defence from the start and won a penalty in the ninth minute when Segundo Castillo tripped the former Tottenham striker in the area, although television replays suggested the midfielder got a touch on the ball first.
Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey went the right way but couldn’t keep out Bent’s perfectly-placed spot-kick as the forward notched his sixth goal of the season.
McCarthy’s men responded well and had a penalty appeal turned down after Turner’s clumsy aerial challenge on Doyle.
Doyle was close to equalising when he glanced a header just wide on the stroke of half-time.
After ending the half on top, Wolves found themselves two goals down within three minutes of the restart.
Bent got to Steed Malbranque’s cross marginally before Christophe Berra and was brought down by the Wolves defender.
This time Bent handed penalty duties to Jones, who pleaded successfully to take the kick and drove it past Hennessey.
Berra gave Wolves a lifeline as he redeemed himself two minutes later. The former Hearts player sent in a cross which Craig Gordon could only palm against Ghana captain Mensah, and the ball flew off the defender’s chest and into the net.
Sunderland imploded again five minutes later when Gordon gave away an indirect free-kick just six yards from goal when he picked up Kieran Richardson’s misplaced back-pass to keep it out of his net.
Andy Keogh tapped the ball short to Karl Henry, and although his effort was blocked, Doyle smashed home the rebound to equalise.
But Sunderland edged in front once again with 20 minutes remaining when Jones surged clear and drilled his shot past Hennessey.
Turner put the result beyond doubt when he powered home a header from Andy Reid’s corner in the 73rd minute before Bent’s shot deflected in off Mancienne in stoppage time. — AFP