Bruce heaps praise on brilliant Bent

Steve Bruce heaped praise on Darren Bent after his second-half

double earned Sunderland a 2-2 draw after a grandstand finish at


Bent’s brace took his Premier League total to 13 this season

and Bruce said the striker’s tally was rich reward for the attitude

he has shown since his move from Tottenham.

Bruce said: “Darren has done terrifically well and he has

been a breath of fresh air.

“He has wanted to play for us since the day we signed him.

“Darren has never groaned about the geography of where he’s

come and he has had a wonderful start.

“Obviously now we need to help him out a little bit but he

has had a wonderful start.”

But Bruce was left breathing a sigh of relief after his

injury-hit side were twice pulled back level then survived a mighty

scare when Chris Samba somehow poked a last-gasp rebound wide after

Marton Fulop had brilliantly parried a point-blank header from

Nikola Kalinic.

Bruce added: “We’ve deserved our bit of luck. The keeper’s

made a hell of a save and it (Samba’s miss) will probably be on

Christmas videos for the next 10 years.

“It would have been harsh on us because of the problems we’ve

got and the teams we’ve had to field.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t hold on to our leads but pleased

we’ve come away with a point.”

While Bruce joked about the first half being “the worst game

of football I’ve ever witnessed”, his counterpart Sam Allardyce

sang the praises of his three late substitutes.

El-Hadji Diouf snatched the late equaliser while both Franco

di Santo and Kalinic had fine chances to snatch a dramatic winner

in the dying minutes. Allardyce said: “Dioufy took his goal really

well but we haven’t played well and it’s disappointing that when

we’re scoring at home it’s to get back in a game rather than win


“It was a good show of character from the players but while I

would have liked to have finished 2009 with a victory I have to be

satisfied the way the game panned out.”

Meanwhile, Allardyce admitted casting envious glances over at

13-goal striker Bent as his own strike-force continue to fail to

find any kind of consistency. Allardyce said: “If we had a 13-goal

striker like they have we’d probably be sitting in eighth place in

the league looking down on the rest of them.

“Too many of our players haven’t lived up to their

reputations regularly enough and that has been a problem that has

caused us to stumble in a part of the season when I thought we’d

push on.”