Manager Tony Mowbray felt Sunderland ‘dominated’ their 1-1 draw with Millwall despite relying on a late Jack Clarke penalty to rescue a point at The Den.

Kevin Nisbet gave Millwall a deserved lead after a superb delivery from Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy.

However, Clarke scored his 10th goal of the season with 12 minutes left to rescue a point for
the Black Cats, though Millwall’s Tom Bradshaw did have a goal disallowed for offside in the closing stages.

The result means Joe Edwards is still without a win at The Den since taking charge of The Lions while Sunderland are winless in three.

Mowbray said: “I thought we dominated the game, probably from start to finish apart from the last 10 minutes after we scored.

“You would expect us to be like The Alamo and go and get the winner but it was the other way really.

“We don’t look like we are going to score a goal and yet we can control the game. I think they had isolated breakaways, it is what they can do and it is ok.

“I think we dominated for long spells without looking like we were going to score.

“We don’t look like we are going to score a goal, why is that?

“I think it is because we have young attacking players, inexperienced attacking players who are not really ready to play for our team.

“And yet we have to play them and we are playing them and we are not suffering the results but we are trying to develop them and get them up to speed to be able to be a striker in the Championship.”

Jobe Bellingham, younger brother of Real Madrid star Jude, was an unused substitute.

Mowbray admitted he has a duty of care and does not want to overplay the 18-year-old.

The draw leaves Sunderland in ninth while Millwall are in 19th.

Edwards felt his side were always in the game despite enjoying far less possession.

He said: “I thought Sunderland started the game well and then we grew and after we got the first goal I felt there was a noticeable change in the team.

“We looked confident, the fans supported us well and it felt like we were building some nice momentum, although they pretty much dominated possession throughout the game.

“We always posed a threat and we looked confident in our defending.

“The way they use width and the wide players in their team, it causes everyone problems but I felt we dealt with it well.

“When you lead a game for so long and you don’t win it feels disappointing but I think you have to respect that they did have a lot of control of the game.

“In the second half, they mounted a lot of pressure as an away team so for me it is just areas where we can improve. I thought we did so well without the ball.

“We posed a threat on the break and in transition but I think we have just got to keep bridging that gap so we don’t have to play at our max like that just to take a point at home.”

Fuming Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray hit out at the “ridiculous” Dan Neil red card decision that “spoilt the game” after the Black Cats were thumped 4-0 by Middlesbrough in the Wear-Tees derby.

Midfielder Neil was given a second yellow card for dissent in first half stoppage time when the game was goalless.

But having claimed to have been told by referee Jarred Gillett that he’d officiate the game “empathetically”, Mowbray says he was left in shock after claiming Neil was sent off for swearing as he claimed for a foul.

Boro took advantage after the break, with Sam Greenwood, Matt Crooks, Isaiah Jones and substitute Marcus Forss running in four goals as Michael Carrick’s side enjoyed their fourth successive Championship victory.

“I don’t understand the logic of it,” Mowbray said of the Neil decision.

“I found it ridiculous that in the manager’s meeting before the game, which I have to go to, he is saying that he is going to manage the game empathetically. Local derby, 45,000, and he gives a red for gesticulating.

“Dan told me that he’s watched it back, he’s 20 yards away and waved his arms and said that’s an effing foul. That’s the emotion of a young man in a local derby, and he’s not swearing at the referee. I do that when I’m emotional, I don’t swear often but when I’m emotional it can come out.

“Dan is a great kid, he’s competitive. He’s distraught because he thinks he’s let the team down but I don’t think he’s done much wrong. In the context of the game, I don’t think the decision was appropriate.”

“It’s a good game and when the referee talks about empathy before the game, he does talk about gesticulating and not crowding the referee but I don’t feel there is any empathy in showing a red card in the last minute of the first half.

“Surely, he’s got to pull him over and use some empathy? Tell him to calm down, it’s a great game with two teams going at it, 45,000 in the stadium, ‘I’ll have to show you another yellow if you shout or gesticulate more’.

“Where’s the management from the official? I hope that’s not being overly critical, I’m just disappointed because it was a really good first half.”

The game was evenly matched before the sending off but Boro quickly took control after the break and did not look back after Leeds loanee Greenwood – who came through the ranks at Sunderland before joining Arsenal when was 16 – broke the deadlock.

Carrick said: “I’m obviously delighted. It’s a terrific result, a really good day.

“The game changed on a couple of moments but playing against 10 men can be difficult. We were conscious of that and we wanted to almost play like we had the 10 men, that mentality.

“Playing against a team a man down, you have to make the most of the extra space and be clever enough to use it. I thought we did that well.T he boys did that so well.”

Asked for his verdict on the red card decision, Carrick said: “I haven’t got a clue, I don’t know what was said or the incident. It was a surprise to see it. I don’t know what’s gone on, we just had to make the most of it really.”

Middlesbrough took full advantage of Dan Neil’s first half red card and ran riot after the break to hammer Sunderland 4-0 in the Wear-Tees derby at the Stadium of Light.

Midfielder Neil was sent off for Tony Mowbray’s side deep in first half stoppage time after receiving a second yellow card for dissent, allowing Boro to take complete control.

Former Sunderland youngster Sam Greenwood, who came through the ranks on Wearside before leaving for Arsenal when he was just 16 and later joining Leeds, broke the deadlock on 58 minutes before Matt Crooks added a second goal two minutes later.

The impressive Isaiah Jones scored the third 17 minutes from time before substitute Marcus Forss wrapped up the emphatic victory in the last minute.

After failing to pick up three points in any of the first seven Championship games, Boro – who were widely fancied for promotion before a ball was kicked this season – have now won four league games on the bounce.

Sunderland had won five of their last six games and were first to threaten when Abdoullah Ba fired just over the crossbar inside the first 10 minutes, before Patrick Roberts forced a fine save out of Seny Dieng after a weaving run from the right.

Boro responded well and after Greenwood’s shot was only parried by Anthony Patterson, Josh Coburn hit the outside of the post with the rebound from a tight angle.

The game swung in Boro’s favour deep in first half stoppage time when Neil, who had been booked earlier in the half for a foul on Coburn, was given a second yellow card for dissent. A melee then broke out at half-time after a Coburn foul on Ballard, with Carrick and his coaching team rushing on to the pitch in an effort to calm things down.

Boro had two glorious chances early in the second half as they set about making the most of their numerical advantage. Patterson made a fine save at the feet of Crooks, who looked certain to slot home Jones’ cross from the right. From the resulting corner, Paddy McNair headed over just four yards out.

The goal Boro had threatened arrived 13 minutes after the break. Dael Fry picked out Greenwood inside the box and the 21-year-old lashed beyond Patterson. Just two minutes later the game was all but over as Jones beat Clarke down the right before teeing up Crooks for a tap in.

Jones got the goal he deserved after weaving across the pitch from the right and keeping his cool to slot home with his left foot. And after substitute Latte Lath’s shot was saved by Patterson in the 90th minute, Forss was on hand to score the fourth.

Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray said he wants Sky Bet Championship teams to feel his side’s attacking threat after they beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 at Hillsborough to move up to fourth in the table.

A Dan Ballard header and two goals from Jack Clarke, the second a penalty,  ensured the Black Cats’ victory in a little more than half an hour.

Mowbray said: “We needed to start fast, we were mindful of our last away game at Blackburn. Tonight we started fast and gave ourselves a great platform to go on.

“To get three goals before half-time was great. The only thing, and I said it in the dressing room, I was a little disappointed we didn’t go on and score more.

“They are a young group of lads and they have to learn. I can’t really complain; to come away and score three goals is good.

“But you always feel in this stadium that one goal goes in and you never know, so we talked about not giving them chances and it wasn’t until the last few minutes that they had any.

“If anything, we had to let them feel our threat more in the second half and be more clinical; score some more goals. I want every team to fear us and sit players behind the ball as a result.

“We were happy to keep the ball but moving forward, I would like other teams in this league to feel our threat – that if they get it wrong we are going to score.

“Of course, it’s about winning but the bigger picture is I want us to be an even better team and when teams aren’t quite right, we can really damage them.

“But it’s another three goals away from home for the third time on the bounce, so we just have to keep rolling.”

Wednesday boss Xisco Munoz apologised to supporters, with his side making the joint-worst start after nine games in Championship history.

Munoz said: “We started so badly and everyone is disappointed. This is the level we are at and after the second goal the game was done. In the second half we had some better moments but not enough.

“In the first half an hour we have three shots and they have three shots but they score the goals. We need to change the dynamic and be better in the final third.

“We changed systems and we changed players. We continued to try to find solutions and we tried to take risks after the second goal but it’s very hard to react the way we want to.

“We need to try to change a lot of things and my way is to try to find solutions. To get results you need to earn them but it was impossible after the first half.

“The results are very poor, that’s clear. But if you ask me if we have improved since I arrived, then yes. It’s not easy and we need to manage the pressure.”

Wednesday are in disarray off the field, with chairman Dejphon Chansiri releasing a statement earlier in the day stating he would be putting no additional money into the club.

Munoz added: “I can’t speak about the chairman; my job is the football side of things and the focus is on the players.

“To the fans, I’m so sorry. I’ve been under pressure since the first day. It’s a big challenge but I will continue to fight every day.”

Tony Mowbray thinks Sunderland still have to get used to playing at the Stadium of Light against teams looking to frustrate their attacking style of play.

The Black Cats boss reflected on a disappointing day for his side when Cardiff defended well to pave the way for Mark McGuinness to head in an 87th-minute winner.

That was enough to lift the Bluebirds up to seventh in the Sky Bet Championship courtesy of a third win in a row but the result halted Sunderland’s impressive run.

Mowbray’s side were looking for a fourth successive win but instead McGuinness’ winner ended a five-match unbeaten run.

Cardiff set up to make things difficult for Sunderland from the start and along with some good defending, goalkeeper Jak Alnwick made a string of fine saves.

Mowbray said: “We shouldn’t be too disappointed, they gave it a real go. We found it last year, teams will come and defend here, get men behind the ball and they were very resilient.

“We have have to find that extra bit of quality. It felt like we dominated the game, and it could have been a nice 1-0 win for us.

“I didn’t think Cardiff looked like winning the game but they have nicked one in the end. It’s frustrating for us.

“There was lots of good stuff from us in the right areas, but maybe the final pass, that final ricochet, wasn’t there. Cardiff managed to block a few second half and we will give them credit, they came with a game-plan and we didn’t manage to break it down.

“We had the ball a lot and yet we didn’t find a way to score today. We had lots of moments and I am sure had we found that extra touch we would have scored and won the game.”

After a slow start to the season Cardiff are finding their feet under former Fenerbahce manager Erol Bulut, who took over in June.

And he is convinced the players are starting to understand his demands after another hard-working display that earned its rewards.

Bulut, who revealed the absent Aaron Ramsey was ill, said: “It was a great win, but first congratulations to Sunderland who have one of the best teams in the league. They have a good future ahead of them. It was not easy to have this victory for us.

“Sometimes you have to fight to win and score one goal and this time it got us a victory. We got the chance and we finalised it. We got the corner, there was great fight, and we scored from it.

“You could see the first games we had in the league, where we were leading and we lost points. Concentration was not how I wanted it. But we have trained, spoken about it, had individual meetings, and the last few weeks have been better.

“It’s still not perfect, and football is a mistakes game, so we tried not to make mistakes in the defence and we were in the right position to win.

“We have three wins now and we have to stay calm. I am a manager who tries to give maximum, take maximum and ask for the maximum. If we get those we will get rewards.”

Southamtpon’s unbeaten start to the Championship season came crashing to an end as Russell Martin’s side were blown away 5-0 by brilliant Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland fans taunted Ross Stewart after the injured striker’s deadline-day switch to Saints as Tony Mowbray’s side built on a dream start and stunned the visitors.

Jack Clarke scored the opening goal after just 52 seconds before Pierre Ekwah added a deflected second six minutes later.

The outstanding Ekwah scored his second and Sunderland’s third on the stroke of half-time. Bradley Dack added a fourth early in the second half before 16-year-old substitute Chris Rigg rounded off a perfect afternoon with his first league goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

The win means Sunderland – who signed four players on deadline day, including Chelsea loanee Mason Burstow – are now unbeaten in three games.

In the week boss Mowbray marked his first anniversary as boss, the Black Cats delivered their best performance of his tenure so far.

A fine opening goal inside a minute set Sunderland on their way. Abdoullah Ba found Trai Hume on the right and the full-back delivered a teasing cross that was met by winger Clarke, who ghosted in at the back post to head home.

Ba was again involved in the second six minutes later. After a Jobe Bellingham cut-back, the winger, only in the team because of the injury to Patrick Roberts, who Southampton tried to sign this week, teed up Ekwah on the edge of the box and the former West Ham midfielder found the bottom corner from 25 yards.

After their nightmare start, Southampton settled down and tried to get a grip of the game. In a dominant 10 minute spell, Martin’s side had 91 per cent of possession but failed to find the goal they needed after the horror opening.

And rather than sit back and soak up pressure, Sunderland then pushed for more goals.

The third came in the 45th minute when Ekwah pounced on a mistake by Southampton debutant Mason Holgate and curled into the bottom corner from 25 yards out.

Southampton made two substitutions at the break, introducing Che Adams after his deadline-day move to Wolves fell through and Newcastle loanee Ryan Fraser. But the changes did not have the impact Martin had hoped for and within four minutes of the restart Sunderland had their fourth.

Gavin Bazuna saved well to keep out a header from Dack but the home side kept the ball alive and the former Blackburn man poked home from close range.

Sunderland put the icing on the cake in the 95th minute when Rigg headed in a cross from fellow substitute Jewison Bennette.

Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray is still waiting for his attack to fire this season after they ground out a goalless draw at Coventry.

Already without long-term casualty Ross Stewart, the Black Cats were also shorn of the injured Patrick Roberts, with Mowbray continuing to mend and make do with 17-year-old Jobe Bellingham leading the line.

Mowbray is hoping he will be able to bring in a striker before the transfer window closes on Friday in order to add a cutting edge to a side that frequently dominates possession.

In terms of chances created, it was Coventry who shaded matters and it required several good saves from Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson to preserve a point for the visitors.

Mowbray said: “The game panned out a little bit differently to what I thought.

“I thought we would come here and dominate possession, like we did last year against them, and they were good first half with the ball.

“I was disappointed at half-time and we readjusted a few things and I thought we were better in the second half.

“We got into some good positions and just the final ball wasn’t quite there today, as we can say in most of the games this season.

“The first three games we averaged 68 per cent possession and we got in behind teams so many times, but we couldn’t find the pass to put the ball into the back of the net.

“It was a bit like that in the second half today and yet you could always feel Coventry’s threat.

“They obviously played two strikers and a 10, they’re a menace and I thought the concentration was good defensively.”

The best chance of the first half came Coventry’s way after 44 minutes when Ellis Simms went through, only for Patterson to save well with his legs.

Sunderland looked bright after the restart and forced Ben Wilson into action twice in a matter of moments as he parried Dan Neil’s effort before also saving Dennis Cirkin’s follow-up.

Kasey Palmer then tried to force the issue for the hosts with a good run into the area, but his tame effort was comfortably saved by Patterson.

The clearest chance for either team to win it came in the 79th minute when Coventry debutant Yasin Ayari played in fellow substitute Haji Wright, who was also denied by the impressive Patterson.

Coventry boss Mark Robins said: “Across the backline, I thought we were outstanding.

“When we needed to, we threw bodies in front of it – I think Milan (Van Ewijk) has had his best game, Jay Dasilva has been really good today, Kyle McFadzean was a joke throwing himself in front of things.

“Then on the flip side of it, we’ve played some really good football.

“We got through them, we got into wide areas, they sat deep and tried to play on the counter-attack against us – they had three players there to try and break out at any given moment, and that’s why they’re dangerous.

“They dropped bodies in, we tried to open them up and if we don’t get it right because there’s no space, it means that as soon as we turn it over, they’re on a counter.

“That put us on the back foot in terms of coming out and being really aggressive.”

Tony Mowbray praised his Sunderland side’s second-half display after they dramatically sealed a play-off place with a 3-0 win over Preston.

After a rocky opening 45 minutes, second-half goals from Amad Diallo, Alex Pritchard and Jack Clarke at Deepdale meant the Black Cats had done all they could in their quest to try and sneak into the play-off places.

That victory proved enough to finish in sixth and claim the final play-off spot after Millwall spectacularly blew a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3 to Blackburn at The Den.

Blackburn finished just behind Sunderland in the table, also on 69 points but with an inferior goal difference, while Millwall fell down to eighth after having had matters in their own hands before kick-off.

Sunderland will now face Luton over two legs for a place in the final at Wembley, and Mowbray was pleased that his side were able to take charge after a frantic first half.

He said: “I felt as though we could come here and control the game.

“I knew we could win at Preston, we’ve won away at West Brom and Norwich – we’ve been good away from home.

“We started sloppy, but then grew into the game. We were naive and let them have too many chances. It was like a basketball game in the first half.

“We didn’t have harsh words at half-time, but we discussed that we needed to control the game better. We became more confident and, off the back of the first goal, we controlled things. It was a solid performance.

“I always believe we’ve got attacking players at the top of the pitch who are really talented and, if we can get the ball to them around the edge of the box, then we can score.”

Travelling Black Cats fans brought incredible energy to Deepdale, but Mowbray admitted there were some injury concerns ahead of their semi-final.

“It’s an incredible scenario to see the people of Sunderland enjoying their football so much,” he added. “It’s going to be awesome being in the semi-finals, we’ve got to be ready for Luton.

“As I sit here now, the conundrum in front of us is really difficult because we’ve got injuries to central defenders, but we have to find another performance.”

Preston finished the season in 12th but only six points behind Sunderland and Blackburn, and boss Ryan Lowe admitted key moments across the season as a whole had cost them.

Lowe commented: “We’ve given it a good go but it’s not been today or Sheffield United that’s cost us the play-offs, it’s from games earlier on in the season.

“I said about mentality, I don’t mean they’re not giving everything, I mean being savvy and taking the opportunities. We went out all guns blazing and we wanted to have a right good go.

“We fell short by six points but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not bad. For us and clubs like us, we need to keep building and I think we’re going in the right direction, we just need that little bit extra.

“We’re pleased with what we’ve tried to do and where we are. The effort of the players and the staff, they’ve been excellent.

“I want to bring the good times back to this club. We are slowly but surely trying to get there, but our aim is to do what Sunderland have done today and get into those play-offs.”

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