Sunderland: Journalist unsure over Black Cats’ penalty
Journalist James Copley has claimed that Sunderland may have been fortunate to be awarded a penalty this weekend.
The Lowdown: Sunderland continue to power on
Sunderland perhaps went into the Wear-Tees derby as underdogs given Middlesbrough were sitting third in the Championship and on a stunning run of form under Michael Carrick.
However, a tight game took a dramatic turn early in the second half when Dael Fry was handed his marching orders for fouling Ross Stewart despite the contact appearing to be initiated outside of the box and there being very little in it.
While there did appear to be a push into Stewart, for the referee to award a penalty and a red card was a huge call – as Sunderland duly took advantage.
The Latest: Black Cats benefit from controversial decision
Copley, who was at the Stadium of Light, has admitted on The Sunderland Echo YouTube channel that Boro can count themselves rather unlucky to have been on the end of Fry’s red card.
He said: “In real-time, I thought Dael Fry’s foul on Stewart was in the box – having watched it back just then, I don’t think it is in the box, and when you slow it down, it does look a bit soft, to be honest.
“In real-time, I thought Fry had sort of put the shoulder into him and Stewart had gone over, but I think Stewart’s done well to buy that.”
The Verdict: Huge decision changed the game
With Sunderland having a goal ruled out for offside prior to Fry’s red card and Stewart netting the opening goal, they were the dominant side, while the dismissal certainly hindered Boro’s ability to get back into the match.
Boro boss Carrick certainly wasn’t happy with the decision, insisting post-match that the foul was indeed outside of the box and should have been a free kick – and we feel he has every right to feel aggrieved.
However, Stewart still had to score, and despite failing to do so from the spot initially, the Black Cats went on to assert their dominance and not give the visitors a sniff of getting back into the game, which Tony Mowbray will have been delighted with.