Leeds boss Daniel Farke felt his side should have been awarded two penalties in their goalless home draw against Sunderland.

United missed the chance to go top of the Sky Bet Championship after being denied a 10th straight home league win after leaders Leicester had slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Millwall.

A first-half cross struck Sunderland defender Dan Ballard on the elbow and a second-half corner hit visiting skipper Luke O’Nien on a raised hand, with both penalty shouts for Leeds turned down by referee Tim Robinson.

Farke said: “We didn’t create enough clear-cut chances. That’s why we didn’t win this game.

“I also have to say, we were pretty unfortunate with several decisions today. It was a clear handball in the first half, should have been a penalty, and a clear handball in the second half, should have been a penalty.

“If there is a rule how there should be a handball, I ask just for the rule.

“I think we’ve had six letters during the season so far apologising for (not being given) a penalty or for red cards – we’ll probably get two more letters now, but it won’t help us.

“They were decisive moments, but credit to Sunderland I think. In the last five games they’ve had four clean sheets.

“I’m annoyed with the (penalty) decisions because they were decisive, but I also like to be self-critical and today we didn’t create enough clear-cut chances.”

Sunderland had won only one of their previous eight league games under interim boss Mike Dodds, but have had clean sheets in four of their last five and proved a tough nut for Leeds to crack.

But Dodds, placed in temporary charge for a second time this season when the Black Cats sacked Michael Beale in February, was in no mood to celebrate his side’s hard-earned point.

Dodds said: “I’m happy for them, but I don’t want to go over the top. I’ve just said to them that we have drawn the game, we haven’t won it.

“There were a lot of positives, but we have drawn the game and I don’t want to be sat here celebrating draws.

“Our out-of-possession stuff was excellent. I didn’t feel at any point that Leeds were going to score or break us down or carve us open.”

Dodds would not be drawn on whether Leeds should have been awarded at least one penalty.

“The reality is that these decisions are swings and roundabouts. It would have been unbelievably cruel on us,” he added.

“I felt all their chances came from our sloppy play and I just said to the group my biggest disappointment was our quality with the ball.

“Our evening would have been a lot more comfortable had we not turned it over far too much.”

Leicester missed the chance to go four points clear at the top of the Championship after a 1-0 loss at Millwall.

Ryan Longman’s brilliant top corner finish was the difference for the Lions, who climbed into 17th.

Leicester stayed one point clear at the summit after Leeds moved into second following a goalless draw against Sunderland.

Substitute Milutin Osmajic bagged a quickfire hat-trick as Preston completed an incredible second-half comeback to beat relegation-threatened Huddersfield 4-1.

Josh Koroma handed the Terriers the lead in the 42nd minute, but Preston equalised when Will Keane levelled from the penalty spot.

Osmajic starred from the bench in the final stages, striking twice in three minutes before completing his treble in the second minute of stoppage time to snatch three points and leave Town outside the bottom three on goal difference.

Sheffield Wednesday scored two late goals to salvage a crucial point in their relegation battle after a 2-2 draw against Norwich.

The visitors struck quickly in the opening stages with Josh Sargent putting the Canaries ahead in the 11th minute before Borja Sainz doubled the advantage five minutes later.

However, Wednesday turned the game around in the final 15 minutes with Michael Ihiekwe pulling one back before Michael Smith levelled in the 85th minute to leave them alongside Huddersfield.

Fourth-placed Southampton continued their play-off push with a 2-1 win against Coventry.

Haji Wright missed a penalty for the Sky Blues in the 10th minute and Southampton struck just eight minutes later through Kyle Walker-Peters.

Che Adams doubled the lead just before the break before Jake Bidwell pulled one back for Coventry, who remain just outside the play-off places.

Plymouth earned a valuable point after drawing 1-1 with QPR.

Sam Field put the visitors ahead from a corner, but Argyle are two points above the drop zone as Albert Adomah turned the ball into his own net.

Leeds missed the chance to go top of the Sky Bet Championship after being held to a disappointing goalless draw by Sunderland at Elland Road.

Daniel Farke’s promotion-chasers climbed back into the top two but another below-par display saw them fall short of usurping leaders Leicester, who slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Millwall.

Leeds, who were beaten in the league for the first time this year at Coventry on Saturday, extended their unbeaten home Championship record this season to 21 matches.

But, after misfiring against resolute opponents, the stalemate left them one point behind Leicester and level with third-placed Ipswich, with both promotion rivals having a game in hand.

Sunderland made clear their intentions from kick off as they sat deep and invited Leeds on and, with space hard to come by, the home side found it difficult to fashion early chances.

Former Leeds forward Jack Clarke just failed to get his head on to a fizzing cross from Timothee Pembele for the visitors before Georginio Rutter fired the hosts’ first chance over the crossbar in the 18th minute.

Leeds had a whopping 80 per cent possession through the first half an hour and had nothing to show for it, while it was their goalkeeper Illan Meslier who was forced into the game’s first two saves.

Both of those were from Clarke, who was keen to impress on his first appearance back at Elland Road since departing for Tottenham in 2019.

At the start of the second half, Leeds fans did their best to lift their team, who appeared weighed down with the expectation, and the response was immediate as Rutter and Dan James both flashed shots wide.

But it required a crucial intervention from skipper Ethan Ampadu to cut out Clarke’s dangerous low cross as Sunderland threatened again.

Crysencio Summerville’s free-kick curled the wrong side of a post and Rutter hooked a tame effort wide as Leeds toiled without inspiration.

With tension mounting on the terraces, Meslier saved Sunderland substitute Patrick Roberts’ free-kick before Leeds’ appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears when a corner struck visiting skipper Luke O’Nien on the hand.

Leeds boss Daniel Farke sent on Joel Piroe, Connor Roberts and Mateo Joseph in the 83rd minute – Willy Gnonto had already replaced Glen Kamara – in a final bid to wrestle victory from a disjointed performance.

Gnonto’s 20-yard shot was deflected over the crossbar in the closing stages and, despite forcing late pressure, below-par Leeds failed to create any clear-cut chances and missed a key opportunity in the promotion race.

Bristol City’s post-match plans were blown off course as their flight home was cancelled in the wake of their goalless draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Having claimed a creditable draw on Wearside thanks mainly to the excellence of their goalkeeper Max O’Leary, who made a string of important saves, City’s players and staff had been due to fly home from Newcastle Airport.

However, high winds resulted in their flight being cancelled, meaning they had to hastily draw up new plans that now involves a 300-mile coach trip back to the south west.

Bristol City boss Liam Manning said: “Our flight home has been cancelled. It’s the wind apparently – it’s bad up here and apparently it’s quite bad in Bristol as well. We found out, as a club, at half-time, but I only found out after the final whistle.

“We’ll have to go by coach now so that’ll add about five hours to the journey home. I guess I’ll spend the time watching the game back. That’s how sad I am. I’ll stick it on the laptop, watch it back, and then use some of that in training next week.”

Manning was pleased with his side’s defensive resilience as they repelled a series of Sunderland attacks to claim a third successive clean sheet, although he admitted he was less satisfied with other aspects of his team’s display.

He said: “The result was more pleasing than the performance. It’s about getting the balance right. In the last two games, the performance and the result were exactly as we would have wanted them. Today, in terms of the performance, we know we can play a lot better.

“I thought there were little mistakes and little things not quite right. We showed a different side to ourselves though. We showed a resilience, a grit and a togetherness. People stepped up, like Max who was outstanding.

“Max made some excellent saves, especially in the first half. He was excellent, but then he has been so often for us. He’s made so many big saves for us.”

Sunderland were thrashed 5-1 by Blackburn on Bank Holiday Monday, so while he was frustrated that his side failed to take all three points, with Adil Aouchiche and Bradley Dack both hitting the crossbar, Mike Dodds was nevertheless delighted with his players’ response to their home humiliation at the start of the week.

Sunderland’s interim head coach said: “I think we had 20 shots on goal. If their goalkeeper isn’t man of the match I’ll be amazed. It was a positive reaction to the previous game, which psychologically is big for the players.

“The last performance was completely unacceptable. I’m disappointed we haven’t won because that should have been three points, and I think their goalkeeper has earned a point for them today.

“I was hoping to see a significant reaction from the players. I thought we got that and it could have been out of sight in the first half. It should have been a lot more comfortable.”

Max O’Leary was Bristol City’s goalkeeping hero as they claimed a goalless draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

O’Leary made a series of superb first-half saves as Liam Manning’s side claimed their third clean sheet in a row.

Adil Aouchiche and Bradley Dack both hit the crossbar as Sunderland turned in a much-improved display from the Bank Holiday battering at the hands of Blackburn.

However, the Black Cats were unable to find a way past an inspired O’Leary and have now won just one of their last nine matches as their season peters out.

Sunderland were the better side from the outset, displaying a much greater degree of intensity and aggression than they had displayed in their 5-1 home defeat to Blackburn at the start of the week.

Dan Ballard thought he had claimed a ninth-minute opener when he headed goalwards after a corner was nodded back across goal, but O’Leary did superbly to claw the ball away.

Sunderland threatened again three minutes later, only for Aouchiche to stab wide from inside the area after Dan Neil’s blocked shot rebounded invitingly into his path.

Jack Clarke was back in the home side’s starting line-up for the first time in more than a month after recovering from an ankle injury and the winger went close midway through the first half as he fired in a side-footed strike that was parried by O’Leary.

The Bristol City goalkeeper was in inspired form for much of the afternoon, producing a brilliant double-save to ensure the scoresheet remained blank shortly after the half-hour mark.

His first save prevented Jobe Bellingham from firing home from inside the area and he then produced an even better stop to keep out Clarke’s follow-up effort.

Two minutes later and O’Leary was at it again. This time it was Neil who was denied initially, with the Robins keeper parrying the midfielder’s shot, and when Aouchiche nodded the rebound towards goal, O’Leary displayed superb reflexes to touch the ball onto the crossbar.

Bristol City had not threatened at all at that stage, but the visitors finally recorded their first effort at goal in first-half stoppage time.

Anthony Patterson parried Nakhi Wells’ angled shot and Scott Twine’s follow-up effort would have gone in had a backtracking Luke O’Nien not produced a crucial block from just in front of the goal-line.

Patterson was called into action again in the early stages of the second half, saving from Matty James after Haydon Roberts nodded a free-kick back across goal, but with the wind swirling around the Stadium of Light, neither side was especially fluent as they pressed to try to force a breakthrough.

That said, however, Sunderland came within inches of claiming a winner with 17 minutes left. Neil flicked on Trai Hume’s cross, enabling substitute Dack to power in a diving header that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar before rebounding to safety.

John Eustace hailed an “all-round perfect performance” after Blackburn eased their Championship relegation worries with a 5-1 hammering of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The Rovers manager was also full of praise for his “unplayable” front four of Sam Gallagher, Sammie Szmodics, Tyrhys Dolan and Ryan Hedges.

Szmodics’ double – his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season – set Blackburn on their way in the first half, with Dolan and Hedges then putting the game out of sight of the hosts within 10 minutes of the restart. Substitute Andrew Moran wrapped up the convincing win after Chris Rigg’s consolation.

It was Eustace’s first win at the 10th time of asking in charge of Rovers, who are now five points clear of the drop zone.

“It was an outstanding performance,” he said. “It’s been coming. The performances have been excellent over the time I’ve been here. You could see the togetherness was there.

“We’ve had some really difficult games but been competitive and rolled our sleeves up. The most important thing was we won playing our style of football but we also showed that level of commitment and desire to defend the box.

“The front four were awesome, they were unplayable at times and the most important thing for me was what they did without the ball, that was outstanding and was the platform.

“It was an all-round perfect performance.”

Furious Mike Dodds hammered his Sunderland players after what he described as a “pathetic” display.

The Black Cats ended a seven-game winless run with a 2-0 win at Cardiff on Good Friday but failed to build on that showing and were booed off at half-time and full-time by the home supporters.

Hopes of another top-six finish have disappeared in recent weeks and Sunderland are now 13 points shy of the play-off places.

Dodds said: “It’s a bad result and an even worse performance. It’s completely unacceptable and I don’t say that lightly. That’s probably the best word I can find.

“Blackburn were deserved winners and I don’t like saying that on our own patch.

“As head coach I have to take responsibility for it, when they’re back in for training there are going to be some uncomfortable conversations but they need to be had if we’re to move forward.

“The players haven’t had much of a chance to talk in there, they’re under no illusions as to my thoughts: if they want to play for this football club then they’re going to have to deliver a better performance than that. If they don’t, they won’t play.

“I could have subbed the whole team when I made the changes in the second half. We’re going to have to reflect and use it as motivation, use it as a huge learning curve – it’s completely unacceptable.”

John Eustace’s wait for a win as Blackburn boss came to an end in emphatic fashion as relegation-threatened Rovers hammered Sunderland 5-1 at the Stadium of Light.

The Championship’s top scorer Sammie Szmodics set Blackburn on their way with a quickfire first half double – his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season – before strikes from Ryan Hedges and Tyrhys Dolan early in the second half wrapped up the points.

Chris Rigg came off the bench to score a consolation for Sunderland 13 minutes from time but Blackburn added a fifth four minutes later through substitute Andrew Moran.

After seven draws and two defeats from his first nine games in charge, Eustace’s first win lifts Rovers five points clear of the relegation zone.

Sunderland ended a seven-match winless run at Cardiff on Good Friday but failed to build on that victory and were booed off at half-time and full-time.

Eustace was dealt a blow early on when left-back Harry Pickering suffered an injury and had to be replaced by Ben Chrisene, but Rovers steadily got a grip, started to impose themselves and broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark.

Patrick Roberts, making his first start after a two-month lay-off with a hamstring injury, slipped in his own half and Blackburn made the winger pay. Dolan played a neat one-two with Chrisene before sliding in Szmodics, whose crisp finished flashed low past Anthony Patterson and into the bottom corner.

Just seven minutes later, Szmodics scored his and Blackburn’s second, turning in Joe Rankin-Costello’s cut-back from six yards out after good play again from Dolan in the build-up.

It could have got even better for Blackburn, with Rankin-Costello forcing a good save out of Patterson. Sunderland desperately needed the half-time whistle and were booed off by the home supporters at the break.

And plenty of the home fans were heading for the exits early after Blackburn added two more goals to put the game out of sight within 10 minutes of the restart.

Hedges started and finished the move for the third, winning possession with a tackle inside his own half before receiving the ball back off Sam Gallagher and finishing calmly from inside the box.

The fourth came just seven minutes later when Dan Neil lost possession and Dolan’s clinical finish went in off the post.

Black Cats boss Mike Dodds immediately turned to his bench and made a triple change, with star forward Jack Clarke one of those introduced alongside Rigg and former Blackburn attacker Bradley Dack.

When Dack’s header was saved on 77 minutes, Rigg was on hand to tap home the equaliser, but Blackburn responded and Moran wrapped up the scoring after a miscued finish from Szmodics.

Interim manager Mike Dodds hailed the impact of Jobe Bellingham as a centre-forward after Sunderland beat Cardiff 2-0 to claim their first win since February 10.

Bellingham, the 18-year-old younger brother of England and Real Madrid midfielder Jude, won an early penalty before scoring his seventh goal of the season in all-round mature performance.

“We should be excited about his performance, something we can build on moving forward,” said Dodds, who revealed he has held conversations with Bellingham about his best position after tending to play him in midfield.

“He’s scored a goal and done well in the the game. He’s a coach’s dream, if I said go and play in goal he would just crack on with it.

“What he has got, which many number nines don’t have in this league, is unbelievable quality with his feet – a centre-midfielder playing up front.

“He gave us a platform to play off but you’ve got to remember he’s a second-year scholar playing in the Championship.

“He’s 18 and I know he carries the weight of his brother, which I think sometimes is unfair.

“But if you put that to one side, you’ve just seen a second-year scholar who has been exceptional and should be playing youth-team football.”

Dodds succeeded the sacked Michael Beale on February 19 and Sunderland had lost six and drawn one of their previous seven games to slide down the Sky Bet Championship table.

He said: “I think it was a real professional performance and I’ve tried to stay really balanced in this seat looking at performances.

“I am more happy for the group and the fans because the result makes everything feel a little bit lighter but I’m quite balanced.

“The (first) goal was a huge psychological factor in us just relaxing, after that we were excellent and cut through them really well.”

A second successive defeat – Cardiff had lost 2-0 to Welsh rivals Swansea before the international break – ended the Bluebirds’ slim play-off hopes.

Erol Bulut’s one-year contract expires at the end of the season and the Bluebirds manager conceded that uncertainty over his future could be impacting on performances.

Bulut said: “It can be (affecting players). I don’t have any problems. I respect it from the board if they are not coming with a new offer.

“I’m focusing on my job until the end of the season. Until now we haven’t had any communication about that, so let’s see.”

On a poor performance, Bulut added: “During the international break, the players trained really well so I was expecting a much better game.

“To see that performance, it hurts. I have to be honest, from the 39 games we’ve played this season, this was one of the worst.”

Sunderland celebrated their first victory for nearly two months as Jobe Bellingham shone in a 2-0 Sky Bet Championship win at Cardiff.

Bellingham won an early penalty that Adil Aouchiche dispatched comfortably before the 18-year-old striker providing breathing space after 27 minutes with his seventh goal of the season.

Sunderland’s first success since Mike Dodds was appointed interim manager until the end of the season following the sacking of Michael Beale was fully merited.

The Black Cats belied their poor form to produce a slick performance that killed off Cardiff’s faint play-off hopes, moving to within two points of them in mid-table.

Cardiff had won four successive games before suffering the pain of losing the South Wales derby at Swansea before the international break two weeks ago.

Sunderland had stopped the rot of six successive defeats with a goalless draw against QPR last time out and began the day nine points above the relegation zone.

Their hopes of a first win since February 10 were lifted after 12 minutes when Dimitrios Goutas gave away possession and his haste to make amends saw him put an arm on Bellingham’s back.

Bellingham needed no invitation to go to ground and, three days on from Wales’ painful Euro 2024 shoot-out exit, the Canton End was the backdrop to another spot-kick.

France Under-20 midfielder Aouchiche converted with ease and Cardiff’s reaction to the early setback was poor.

Abdoullah Ba tested Ethan Horvath at the near post, Dan Neil curled over from 20 yards, and Sunderland should have doubled their advantage when Bellingham freed Chris Rigg.

Horvath scampered from goal to deny the 16-year-old and Cardiff cleared the danger. However, Sunderland’s wait for a second goal lasted a matter of moments.

Aouchiche found room on the right and his cross was volleyed home from close range by the stretching Bellingham.

Loud boos greeted the half-time whistle with Cardiff off the pace and the visitors’ solitary moment of discomfort coming from a free-kick when Goutas headed straight at Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson.

Cardiff sent on Aaron Ramsey – who had stayed on the bench as Wales bowed out of Euro 2024 on Tuesday – for the second period with the Bluebirds desperately seeking impetus.

But Sunderland continued to dominate and Neil went close with a deflected effort before Nat Phillips prevented Bellingham from capitalising further.

Cardiff called on their set-piece potency as Goutas’ header skimmed the crossbar but Ba and substitutes Hemir and Romain Mundle all had clear openings to increase Sunderland’s advantage.

Sunderland forward Mary McAteer admitted it would be an “unbelievable experience” if the club earned promotion to the Women’s Super League.

The Black Cats sit top of the Championship table with 34 points going into the final four games of the season, but the race for promotion remains incredibly close.

Several teams are still in the running as Crystal Palace, Southampton and Charlton all sit just a point behind the Wearside outfit, while Birmingham are three points further back.

It is a remarkable turnaround for Sunderland, who avoided relegation last season after finishing second-bottom, and McAteer believes this year has been the “most competitive season” as the club aim to secure promotion to the top flight for the first time since 2018.

She told the PA news agency: “It would be unbelievable (to be promoted), an unbelievable experience.

“I think it’s where the club belongs and as a group of players, it would mean the world to us, to do it together would be an unbelievable experience.

“I think it’s the most competitive season there’s been in a long while, especially Championship and WSL in the women’s game.

“It’s amazing to have so many teams up there competing and being that competitive, I think it just shows how far the women’s game has come to have five teams up there and within points of each other.

“I do think for us it’s just exciting to be up there and be a part of it, we’re just going to keep our focus, not get carried away with it and take it game by game.

“We’re taking each game by game and we just know if we win all four games we win the league and that’s going to be our mindset going forward, so each game we have to win. So yeah, crunch time.”

Sunderland’s final stretch kicks off with a huge clash against local rivals Durham and as part of Women’s Football Weekend, the FA are highlighting four derbies including the River Wear derby taking place at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground on Sunday.

This season’s River Wear clashes saw Sunderland take three points in their league meeting back in November thanks to Katie Kitching’s strike, but Durham emerged victors in the Continental Cup group game just three days later with a penalty shootout win after drawing 2-2 in regular time.

Durham are currently four points from safety in the standings, but long-serving defender Sarah Wilson is looking forward to Sunday’s game.

The Durham skipper told the PA news agency: “It’s exciting, there’s been a lot of hype around it and I think the past couple of years, the derbies are growing so it’s a good one. We’re all looking forward to it.

“We’re not playing down our situation but every single game that we’re going into, every team we’re playing, there’s pressure coming from all over.

“You’ve got to go in and focus on yourself, I know it’s cliche, but in a derby everything goes out of the window. It’s going to be scrappy and it’s whoever wants it most will come out on top on the day.”

McAteer, who joined Sunderland last summer, was also “buzzing” for another derby contest.

She added: “I absolutely can’t wait, we’re all buzzing, we have been all week.

“I know every game’s important for us but being a derby, there’s always a little bit something extra so we’re really excited for it.”

QPR head coach Marti Cifuentes admits he was “disappointed” not to secure victory as his side had to settle for a goalless draw against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Neither goalkeeper had much to do throughout the afternoon and the biggest chances of the game fell to the visitors, with their best opportunity falling to Chris Willock in the 87th minute.

Sinclair Armstrong played a low ball to the unmarked Willock in the box, but goalkeeper Anthony Patterson made a superb save and Cifuentes believes his side provided enough to at least score one goal.

“The game was more or less what we wanted, we didn’t allow Sunderland to get a shot on goal for 95 minutes,” the QPR boss said.

“I don’t think we created as much as we would have liked, but maybe enough to get a goal, or at least two goals. I think Patterson was great in saving two situations.

“(They were) very good saves, but overall very disappointed about not getting the victory.”

QPR had chances from Ilias Chair and Lucas Andersen in the first half, but the introduction of Armstrong after the break provided more spark.

He was denied three times by Patterson in the second half and Cifuentes hailed the forward’s importance to the team.

Cifuentes said: “It was a game where we were thinking the whole week if he should start the game or not.

“When he comes on as a sub he has a great impact in these games with the big pitch, perhaps the defensive lines who try to play higher on the pitch and I think he did a great job.”

A point ended Sunderland’s run of six successive Sky Bet Championship defeats, but they were unable to threaten the QPR defence much throughout the match.

The injury-hit Black Cats had half-chances from Adil Aouchiche and Dan Neil, but interim head coach Mike Dodds believes his side showed “no real quality” in the match.

“People are going to say it’s a point and it stops the chain of events we’ve had for the last six games, but the performance I was really disappointed with,” Dodds said.

“Both first half and second half I felt we huffed and puffed but had no real quality in the game.

“I’ve got to keep working with them, they’re a group that need help. A large part of that responsibility is myself.

“I think you will naturally get some help when you get bodies back, but I thought that was a real naive performance.

“I think in the last four games I’ve sat here in probably three of them and tried not to spin positives, but tried to look at pockets of the game which I really liked.

“There wasn’t a huge amount that I liked about that game.

“We’re going to have some bodies back for Easter weekend, everyone can see that will be a huge boost for the group.”

Sunderland ended a run of six straight Sky Bet Championship defeats after being held to a goalless draw by QPR at the Stadium of Light.

Neither goalkeeper was troubled much throughout the game, but the first half saw Ilias Chair and Lucas Andersen have the better of the chances for the visitors.

Substitute Sinclair Armstrong threatened three times after the break, but the best opportunity fell to Chris Willock, who had his effort saved by goalkeeper Anthony Patterson.

A point ends Sunderland’s losing run but sees them remain 12th in the table, while QPR sit one point above the relegation zone.

Asmir Begovic was tested in the opening minutes when a cross was curled in from the left by Adil Aouchiche but the ball bounced off the crossbar.

QPR had an early chance through Chair after he was played through on the edge of the area, but his effort deflected behind.

The visitors grew more comfortable and had a great opportunity when Andersen latched onto a loose pass from Dan Ballard but was denied by a quick low save from Patterson.

A scrappy first half saw both sides have a couple of chances when Dan Neil tried to catch Begovic out with an audacious effort from the halfway line which dropped onto the roof of the net.

Chair came close at the other end with a curling effort around the post before a quick break from Aouchiche saw his low shot deflected just wide.

Both teams struggled to find their feet in the opening stages of the second half, but the more positive moves came from QPR.

They capitalised on another loose ball from Sunderland in the 65th minute as a tidy pass from Andersen played in substitute Armstrong but his shot from a narrow angle was comfortably scooped up by Patterson.

The Rs were on the attack again minutes later as Willock’s cross rattled the crossbar.

A chance for Sunderland followed as Pierre Ekwah found Callum Styles whose pass clipped a QPR defender and flicked up for youngster Chris Rigg, but Begovic was able to smother the ball.

Armstrong threatened again in the 85th minute with a great run down the right before cutting in and firing low at Patterson from a tight angle.

QPR nearly found a winner in the seventh minute of stoppage time when Armstrong played a low ball to the unmarked Willock in the box, but Patterson made a great diving stop to keep the score level.

A huge opportunity followed for Sunderland when a corner flew through the box. That allowed QPR to break again but Patterson was able to deny Armstrong for a third time.

Manager Russell Martin hailed super-sub Joe Rothwell after his quickfire double helped Southampton stay on track in the Championship promotion race after beating Sunderland 4-2.

Stuart Armstrong and Adam Armstrong had put Saints into a comfortable first-half lead before Romaine Mundle and Jobe Bellingham hit back.

But Rothwell’s 73rd-minute introduction turned the momentum with two goals in three minutes to condemn Sunderland to a sixth straight defeat.

Martin said: “Joe is an amazing finisher. The first one looks easy but it isn’t, it is in the half volley, and then with the second he’s showed great composure.

“He was really great when he came on. Him and Joe Aribo can be frustrated that they aren’t starting but they have two guys in front of them who have been playing really well.

“It is good problems for me but they have to keep doing what they have been doing when they get on to the pitch and being frustrated at not playing.

“We should have been out of sight by half-time is my feeling. We only let them have one shot from inside the box and that hit the post and we should have made them pay for that.

“I’m delighted we have won but am furious and frustrated we have conceded two goals because it shouldn’t happen.

“Credit to Sunderland as I thought they only had 15 minutes more of energy and then they score and we weren’t clean enough and there was a bit of tension around the ground.

“But I think we deserved the win, I don’t think anyone who watched the game would say any different.”

Stuart Armstrong opened the scoring by sweeping in from a yard before Geordie Adam Armstrong converted from the spot after Ryan Manning had been downed in the box.

Mundle pulled one back in the 62nd minute from 20 yards with a strike off a post and Bellingham completed the comeback with a wonder strike after shifting on to his right foot from the edge of the area to beat a diving Gavin Bazunu.

Rothwell then claimed the three points. His first came after Adam Armstrong’s blocked cross landed perfectly for him to follow in and lash home before Adam Armstrong’s low cross was cleared off the line and into the path of the Bournemouth loanee to pounce again.

Sunderland boss Mike Dodds is still winless since taking over from Michael Beale last month and said: “The four goals are avoidable goals from my perspective.

“I want to try and spin positives about going toe-to-toe with two quality teams this week but we need to do that more consistently and get the results – that isn’t lost on me.

“I can see everyone is really trying but things aren’t going our way. It is an important moment for this group and we need to stick together.

“My confidence hasn’t taken a hit. I’m really enjoying the role. It has reinforced that I can still see the path I want to go on and still see the belief in the players.

“They have lost six on the bounce. They aren’t skipping down the corridors or high-fiving each other. But I think they can see what we are trying to do.

“I’m not going to say we deserved to win the game but for large periods we were better than Southampton.”

Newcastle-born striker Adam Armstrong helped extend Sunderland’s losing run to six matches as Southampton’s 4-2 victory breathed new life into their Sky Bet Championship promotion push.

Armstrong, who played 21 times for the Magpies after coming through their youth set-up, converted a first-half penalty after Stuart Armstrong had already poked Saints ahead.

Romaine Mundle and Jobe Bellingham pulled it back to 2-2 but Joe Rothwell’s quick-fire brace off the bench – both with heavy Adam Armstrong influence – maintained Mike Dodds zero per cent record since taking over from Michael Beale.

Sunderland didn’t have a shot on target in the first half but could have led inside 90 seconds but Mason Burstow curled just wide.

Burstow would also shake a post from the most acute of angles but otherwise the hosts dominated and should have gone in better than their 2-0 lead.

David Brooks set the tone in the fourth minute when he was given plenty of time to get a shot away but could only fire wide.

The opener came five minutes later as Brooks clipped a ball to the back post and Bellingham headed back across his own goal under pressure to offer Jan Bednarek a free header. That was saved but only as far as Stuart Armstrong, who swept in from a yard.

It was the Scotland international’s first league goal since December and fourth of the season.

He almost had a second in the 19th minute when a clear shot was deflected behind before Che Adams couldn’t divert a low cross in and Brooks struck a free-kick straight at goalkeeper Anthony Patterson.

Saints’ second came in the 37th minute after Ryan Manning had his legs taken from under him by Leo Hjelde for a stonewall penalty.

Adam Armstrong converted, albeit with a slip which drew complaints of a double contact from the Black Cats, before celebrating in the corner where the away fans were situated.

But the momentum completely changed in the second half, specifically on a pair of double substitutions in the 58th minute.

Russell Martin’s withdrawal of Brooks and Will Smallbone didn’t work but Dodds’ introduction of Adil Aouchiche and Nazariy Rusyn was a masterstroke.

Rusyn had already blasted into the side-netting before Mundle pulled one back in the 62nd minute from 20 yards with a strike off a post.

Bellingham completed the comeback with a wonder strike after shifting on to his right foot from the edge of the area to beat a diving Gavin Bazunu.

But Saints rallied and another double swap reverted their fortunes as Rothwell turned things back around and James Bree shored things up.

Rothwell was in the right place at the right time twice in three minutes within seven minutes of being subbed on in the 73rd minute.

His first came after Adam Armstrong’s blocked cross landed perfectly for him to follow in and lash home before Adam Armstrong’s low delivery was cleared off the line and into the path of the Bournemouth loanee to pounce again.

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca has told veteran striker Jamie Vardy he has a key role to play as the Sky Bet Championship leaders edge their way back towards the Premier League.

The 37-year-old scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at Sunderland on Tuesday evening which ended the Foxes’ three-game losing streak in the league and maintained their three-point advantage over second-placed Ipswich.

Asked about the former England international’s contribution, Maresca said: “We know very well that Jamie is so important for us. He has been so important this season and he will be important for the end of the season.

“He has experience, but also he has done in his life and is doing the most important thing in football, that is scoring goals.”

Vardy’s 13th-minute header after Anthony Patterson had saved Wout Faes’ initial effort proved the difference between the sides on a night when the Foxes might have had the game won by half-time, but then needed a fine save from goalkeeper Mads Hermansen after the break to deny Trai Hume a spectacular equaliser.

The home side were aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty for Hamza Choudhury’s stoppage-time challenge on defender Dan Ballard as they mounted a concerted late charge.

Interim Sunderland boss Mike Dodds said: “Dan is adamant it was a penalty. My initial gut is why would he go down?”

Maresca admitted City had not played as well as they had in successive defeats by Middlesbrough, Leeds and QPR, but was delighted with their resilience as the Black Cats rallied.

He said: “At this moment, the most important thing is to win games, and also as a team probably we need to learn to win games in an ugly way like tonight.

“In the second half, we suffered a lot, but in the first half, again we created many chances especially at the beginning. We missed, but fortunately we could score with Jamie and at the end, we won the game.”

Sunderland’s fifth defeat on the trot left them closer to the bottom three than the top six in terms of points, but Dodds was adamant there are reasons to be cheerful.

He said: “They are human. They’ve lost five on the bounce, so they’re not machines, they are aware of that, I’m aware of that. But I do feel that we are one win away from putting a number of wins together.

“Unfortunately the result wasn’t the result we wanted, but I think the performance would show that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Page 1 of 8
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.