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2017/18 English League Championship, 2017/2018 English League Championship
  • Lewis Grabban (45', 57')
  • Paddy McNair (79')
  • Sammy Ameobi (32')
  • Gary Madine (60')
  • Karl Henry (67')

Sunderland fight for draw against Bolton - and sack boss Grayson minutes later

Sunderland twice came from behind to draw 3-3 against Bolton but it was not enough to prevent the men from Wearside equalling an unwanted record - or keep manager Simon Grayson in a job.
The battle of the Championship's bottom two saw both teams take the lead and lose it before Paddy McNair levelled things up for the final time with 11 minutes remaining.
The result meant the Black Cats tied an English league record of going 19 matches without a win on home soil, and they announced Grayson's departure just minutes after the full-time whistle.
Former Newcastle forward Sammy Ameobi put the visitors ahead in the 32nd minute only for Lewis Grabban to level just before half-time, and then put the hosts ahead with his second goal 13 minutes into the second half.
The Trotters turned the match on its head when Gary Madine scored two minutes later and Karl Henry added a third in the 67th minute, but the home team battled back - and stayed above the bottom club - when McNair struck from 20 yards.
If there was one thing worse than Sunderland's dreadful home record then it was Bolton's away-day woe in the Championship, so something would surely have to give.
Wanderers had not won on their travels in the Championship in 32 matches, dating back to April 2015, and Sunderland started like a team believing they could make the most of that.
Despite a few decent enough moves involving Callum McManaman, Jonny Williams and Aiden McGeady, there was no real threat posed to Ben Alnwick in the Bolton goal.
The little good work Sunderland had achieved was all undone in an instant. A routine ball forward was won in the air by Gateshead-born Madine and the ball fell invitingly for Ameobi, who was allowed to control without anyone near him and then fire in a 25-yard effort that defender Marc Wilson and goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter should have done more to stop.
Immediately the Sunderland fans started demanding Grayson's sacking as well as directing 'You're not fit to wear the shirt' chants at their players.
Just when it seemed they would enter half-time a goal down, Grabban struck. The striker, on loan from Bournemouth, slotted a tidy finish beyond Alnwick after latching on to a fine through-ball from Didier Ndong.
Sunderland, after Williams made way for second striker James Vaughan, had penalty shouts waved away when the substitute looked to have been prevented from getting on the end of Grabban's cross by Mark Beevers.
Then the drama. Grabban put Sunderland ahead, after Bryan Oviedo rolled a pass across the face of goal for him to finish after another nice through-ball from Ndong.
The lead lasted less than two minutes because Sunderland's defence failed to deal with a high ball. Ameobi won the first header, David Wheater the second and Madine was perfectly placed to slot in the equaliser.
Bolton were gifted the lead. Ndong, who had played well up to this point, attempted an ill-advised back-pass. Antonee Robinson cut it out and delivered a cross to the back post, where Henry was on hand to side-foot beyond Ruiter.
But Sunderland were not finished and McNair, six minutes after his introduction, drilled in another equaliser from 20 yards to make for a frantic finale - but neither side could forge ahead again.

English League Championship Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 17 +16 38
2 Sheffield United 17 +12 36
3 Cardiff City 17 +11 34
4 Bristol City 17 +10 31
5 Aston Villa 17 +8 29
6 Middlesbrough 17 +7 26
7 Leeds United 17 +6 26
8 Derby County 16 +4 26
9 Ipswich Town 16 +4 25
10 Sheffield Wednesday 17 +2 24
11 Nottingham Forest 17 -2 24
12 Norwich City 17 -5 23
13 Brentford 17 +2 22
14 Preston North End 17 0 22
15 Queens Park Rangers 17 -4 21
16 Barnsley 16 +1 20
17 Fulham 17 -1 20
18 Millwall 17 0 18
19 Reading 16 -3 18
20 Hull City 17 -2 17
21 Birmingham City 17 -16 15
22 Burton Albion 17 -23 13
23 Bolton Wanderers 17 -16 12
24 Sunderland 17 -11 11

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