18 February 2023

Nigel Pearson pleased with Bristol City’s last-gasp draw at Sunderland

18 February 2023

Nigel Pearson celebrated his 100th game in charge of Bristol City by watching his side score a penalty that was finally awarded to them to earn a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

The Robins boss has often vented his frustration at the fact that his side have not had a spot-kick from officials since November 2021, a run stretching 67 games.

City made the most of the one referee Gavin Ward handed them for Trai Hume’s foul on Jay Da Silva in the third minute of added time.

Nahki Wells composed himself and fired low inside Anthony Patterson’s bottom right corner to cancel out Jack Clarke’s brilliant 59th-minute opener that had Sunderland on course for fourth spot.

But Pearson was not completely satisfied with the officials because of a couple of other incidents, including one when defender Rob Atkinson had to be stretchered down the tunnel as he lay just off the pitch following a collision with Amad Diallo.

Pearson said: “I was a bit nervous at the end. Nahki was nice and calm. It is a little bit ironic that it would be a penalty that got us something today. The officiating again was irritating for both sides.

“We felt we would have got a penalty when Sam Bell was pushed. The important thing is our players got reward for what was another positive performance which showed the character as players.

“There was a resilience there today which I was really pleased to see from them.

“I wasn’t happy with how Rob was treated off the pitch. He was in pain, quite a serious injury. We have to wait for a scan. For the officials to be happy with players to be trampling on them on the side, is a disgrace. Really poor. We had to move him safely (possible ACL).

“But the important thing is we got something out of the game which gave us reward for another positive performance, the fans have had another difficult journey up here in yesterday’s weather. Football wins today.”

Bristol City, unbeaten in 11 now, had looked dangerous and created chances, with Patterson making a strong first-half save when he pushed Anis Mehmeti’s strike against the post.

But once Clarke had controlled Edouard Michut’s pass, cut inside and fired powerfully into Max O’Leary’s top left corner just before the hour, Sunderland looked like they would go on to win. Wells’ penalty changed that.

Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray said: “When Jack hit that one I thought we would get over the line, but a penalty is a penalty. We have to put that point in the bag and move on.

“We played against a decent team. A young, athletic and mobile team and this is their 11th game unbeaten so we knew it would be tough. Overall, on the balance of chances, they had spells, but generally we controlled it.

“It looks as if we had the opportunities that could have led to a second goal and I thought we were going to. It didn’t come and ultimately we suffered to a sucker punch at the end. They dug in and credit to them, good luck to them.

“What Nigel has done with this young team, he has given them belief and confidence. His bench was full of experienced players. He rotated his team to do that. They were energetic. I liked watching them today.

“It was an entertaining game. It would have been more entertaining if it had stayed 1-0!”

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