Blackpool 1 Sunderland 2

STEVE Bruce felt Sunderland’s win over Blackpool at the weekend saw justice done.

The Black Cats’ boss admitted last week that he found the defeat to the Tangerines last month one of the most difficult results of the season to take.

The Wearsiders had more than 30 shots on goal on Blackpool’s visit to the North East yet somehow failed to score in a 2-0 defeat.

“That was just an unbelievable day,” mused Bruce on Saturday afternoon. “A one-off.

“But we’re delighted that we managed to come to Blackpool and avenge what happened last month at the Stadium of Light.

“It’s amazing when you think about it isn’t it?

“We had all those chances, so many chances on the day but couldn’t take any of them.

“And then this weekend we come to Blackpool and score with our very first one!”

For the goals, Bruce was indebted to Kieran Richardson’s brace – the club’s utility man excelling in a more advanced role.

“I’ve asked Kieran to play five or six different positions this year, and certainly he seems to enjoy and revel in this position in the hole,” Bruce said. “He was the outstanding player on the pitch.

“In the first-half, the electric pace he has coming from deep was terrific to see but he’s been terrific all season in any position I have asked him to play.

“Both goals were good finishes and he’s capable of it Kieran; we all know he’s capable of it.”

Bruce’s side made a flying start and Blackpool were pinned back again in the seventh minute when Jordan Henderson swung in a cross from the right.

Steed Malbranque peeled away from his marker but saw his header clear the bar by some distance.

Sunderland made the breakthrough in the 15th minute following a swift counter-attack.

Asamoah Gyan released Richardson with a delightful through ball and he swept a shot into the net for his first goal this season.

Sunderland almost added a second in the 26th minute when Henderson clipped the ball to Ahmed El Mahamady on the right flank.

He delivered a deep cross and Richardson was handily placed but just failed to get a vital touch.

Blackpool suddenly broke out of their shell and Gordon made two superb saves in the space of two minutes.

He turned away a close-range shot from Luke Varney in the 28th minute after he was set up by the influential Adam, who is apparently on Liverpool’s radar.

Then Adam almost equalised, his effort from the edge of the area being turned over the bar by the Scotland international.

The Black Cats extended their lead in the 35th minute with Richardson’s second goal of the game. He showed good movement to get on the end of a pass from Malbranque and his effort beat Richard Kingson at the goalkeeper’s near post.

Sunderland, however, were again grateful to Gordon in the 42nd minute when he pushed over a superb 20-yard free-kick from Adam.

Blackpool were forced to make a change in the 49th minute, Brett Ormerod replacing Stephen Crainey after he limped off.

Five minutes later Kingson was left with a cut on his head following a brave block from Zenden, who had been put through by Richardson. He was unable to continue and was replaced by Paul Rachubka between the posts.

It was another blow for manager Ian Holloway, with his side trailing by two goals.

Blackpool responded, though, and almost pulled a goal back in the 59th minute when Varney set up Adam in the six-yard box but Gordon was equal to his effort and turned it over the bar.

Sub Marlon Harewood came on and was quickly into the action and got the better of Titus Bramble in the 66th minute but dragged his shot the wrong side of the post.

Blackpool were anxious to get back in the game and Adam curled a shot wide from an acute angle in the 77th minute after being picked out by Matt Phillips.

They eventually pulled a goal back in the 85th minute with Adam scoring from the penalty spot after David Vaughan was nudged by Bramble. However, it was too little too late.

Bruce added: “The one thing I’ve learned about my squad is that, in adversity, they have always responded.

“After everything that has happened this week, they could easily have felt sorry for themselves.”