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Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 17:04 GMT
Morrison bags Blues winner
Sunderland's Gavin McCann (left) tussles with Birmingham's Robbie Savage
Gavin McCann (left) tussles with Robbie Savage
Sunderland 0-1 Birmingham

A late winner from Birmingham's Republic of Ireland striker Clinton Morrison was the difference in a hard-fought battle at the Stadium of Light.

The game was almost up when City winger Stan Lazaridis fed the hungry Morrison, who turned Black Cats' defender Jody Craddock in one swift movement.

The former Crystal Palace hitman then placed the ball into the far corner for his fourth league goal of the season a minute from time.

Sunderland's tally of only eight goals from 15 Premiership starts, the worst in all four English divisions, never looked like ending.


We've had enough of the Aussies for the last three days, but I thought Stan Lazaridis gave an unbelievable performance
Steve Bruce
Birmingham boss

The Blues started well with Paul Devlin and fit-again Robbie Savage controlling the middle of the park.

It was Devlin who tested Black Cats keeper Jurgen Macho from distance after 12 minutes.

Sunderland's Kevin Kilbane had Sunderland's first real effort on goal two minutes later.

Steve Bruce's side dominated for long periods of an uneventful first half but could not get the vital breakthrough as the Sunderland faithful became increasingly restless.

Sunderland's Michael Gray closed down by Birmingham's Darren Purse
Michael Gray is closed down by Darren Purse
Gavin McCann and Kilbane clattered into Savage and Lazaridis respectively moments into the second half.

And the game quickly deteriorated, with McCann, Savage, Michael Gray and Stephen Wright all finding their way into the referee's notebook.

Sunderland boss Howard Wilkinson finally decided to change things by bringing on pacy Frenchman David Bellion for the ineffective Michael Proctor.

And the move nearly had some effect when Tore Andre Flo, heading on a long Craddock free-kick, forced Jeff Kenna to hack clear.


In the first-half we were not assertive enough
Howard Wilkinson
Sunderland manager

Macho almost blotted his copybook after 65 minutes when Lazaridis drove in a curling free-kick.

Luckily, the ball dropped wide of the post after the keeper had failed to gather.

Sunderland's superior fitness became a factor as the home side threw everything at their opponents, but they could not break Nico Vaesen's resistance.

Birmingham substitute Damien Johnson then hit the bar late on before Morrison's late show gave Steve Bruce's side only their second win in six league outings.


Sunderland: Macho, McCartney, Babb, Craddock, Wright, Gray, Kilbane, McCann, Proctor (Bellion 56), Phillips, Flo.

Subs Not Used: Poom, Stewart, Thirlwell, Bjorklund.

Booked: Gray, McCann, Wright.

Birmingham: Vaesen, Kenna, Cunningham, Purse, Tebily, Lazaridis, Cisse, Savage (Powell 60), Devlin (Hughes 84), Morrison, John, Powell (Damien Johnson 85).

Subs Not Used: Bennett, Kirovski.

Booked: Cisse, Savage, Tebily.

Goals: Morrison 89.

Attendance: 38,803 Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).

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BBC Five Live's Peter Slater
"Sunderland had no invention or cutting edge"
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