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 Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 18:56 GMT
Sunderland stun Liverpool
Gavin McCann opens the scoring for Sunderland
McCann gave Sunderland a shock first-half lead
Sunderland 2-1 Liverpool

A Michael Proctor goal five minutes from time gave Sunderland a much-needed victory and heaped further pressure on Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier.

Liverpool looked set to end their run of three straight Premiership defeats with a Milan Baros goal in 68th minute.

I hope we can make this the start of another run

Howard Wilkinson

That cancelled out a first-half goal from Gavin McCann, who also missed a penalty in the second period.

But substitute Proctor pounced in the 85th minute to lift Sunderland out of the relegation zone.

Despite their horrendous run of form, Sunderland began the game in confident mood.

In the 12th minute Kevin Phillips cut the ball back for Kevin Kilbane, who fired in a powerful left-foot shot that flashed past Chris Kirkland's upright.

Phillips then combined well with Tore Andre Flo and fired in a low shot that just went wide of Kirkland's right hand post.

Liverpool struggled to cause the Sunderland defence too many problems in the early stages, with an off-target header from Baros and a long shot from Steven Gerrard the sum of their attacks.

Key moments
36 mins: McCann ends Sunderland's wait for a goal
60 mins: McCann sees his penalty saved by Kirkland
68 mins: Baros levels for Liverpool
85 mins: Proctor scores a late winner for the Black Cats

Danny Murphy showed their frustrations by throwing the ball at Flo and earning a booking for his troubles.

Michael Owen got free and shot left-footed but he could not get enough power behind to seriously test Macho.

Sunderland finally ended their long search for a goal in the 36th minute.

McCann beat Gerrard to the ball and Flo slipped it in to the path of the midfielder, who finished delightfully with a flick over the head of Kirkland.

It was a rare goal from the former Everton midfielder and ended a run of over 500 minutes without a goal for the Wearsiders.

I have to say we were 100% sure we could win that game and we fought hard for the result

Jurgen Macho

Liverpool were sparked into life with Baros appearing the most likely to score for the Reds.

The striker somehow managed to squirm his way through on goal and, with just Macho to beat, the keeper somehow managed to deflect the ball around the post with his legs.

Macho again denied Baros before acrobatically tipping over from a Murphy free-kick that was heading for the top corner.

Macho was finally beaten in the 58th minute but Murphy's shot was inches wide of the post.

We have to keep our heads up

Gerard Houllier

Despite being on top, Liverpool should have been 2-0 down on the hour when Jamie Carragher was adjudged to have handled the ball from a close range header from Phillips.

McCann stepped up to take the penalty but his tame effort was pushed out by Kirkland.

Sunderland were made to pay in the 68th minute when the lively Baros got the equaliser.

Carragher slipped the ball into the forward and he kept his nerve to fire past Macho.

Liverpool looked the more likely to score the winner in the latter stages, but Proctor connected at the second attempt to secure a valuable three points.


Sunderland: Macho, Wright, McCartney, Babb, Bjorklund, Gray (Proctor 80), Thirlwell, McCann, Kilbane, Flo (Stewart 89), Phillips.
Subs not used: Ingham, Thome, Bellion.

Liverpool: Kirkland, Carragher, Biscan (Diouf 63), Henchoz, Traore, Murphy, Gerrard, Hamann (Riise 45), Smicer (Diao 72), Owen, Baros.
Subs not used: Babbel, Dudek.

Booked: Murphy, Carragher.

Attendance: 37,118

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Sport's Dave Woods
"There was an explosion of relief at the Stadium of Light"
 Sunderland boss Howard Wilkinson
"I'm so proud of my players"
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