Bendtner glad to open account

BY foxsports • October 2, 2011

The on-loan Arsenal striker's 24th-minute effort sparked a comeback which eventually saw the Black Cats claim a 2-2 draw with West Brom after enduring a nightmare start to a game they could not afford to lose at the end of a traumatic week. For Bendtner, the fact that his shot was deflected past Baggies keeper Ben Foster by defender Gareth McAuley's out-stretched leg after Sebastian Larsson had back-heeled the ball into his path did not matter one bit after a four-game wait to open his account in a red and white shirt. The 23-year-old Dane said: "I was very delighted. I knew Seb was going to drag it back because he had seen me, but as I saw the tackle coming in, I thought 'Oh no', because it was difficult and I had to shoot first touch. "But then it deflected in and I was very pleased because it's always special to get off the mark no matter how it goes in. "I was a bit unlucky against Norwich, but then again, it was always going to come at some point. "If you keep putting yourself in the box and keep getting in amongst the chances, it will come for sure." Bendtner's big moment could hardly have arrived at a better time for both he and Bruce with the latter having been subjected to calls for his head from the stands after his best-laid plans had been ripped apart within five calamitous minutes. Just how James Morrison managed to meet Chris Brunt's fourth-minute free-kick and head home from close range was a question to which Bruce was still seeking an answer after the final whistle, and Sunderland's fortunes were to take a further turn for the worse within seconds. Craig Gardner launched himself into a 50-50 tackle on halfway, but, to his horror, saw the ball ricochet into the path of striker Shane Long, who sped through a flat-footed home defence to fire past keeper Simon Mignolet. The reaction from the home fans inside the stadium left Bruce in little doubt as to his standing in their estimation with yet another defeat seemingly looming. But it was then that the players started to fight for their manager, and they were soon back on terms with a quick-fire salvo of their own. Bendtner's initial contribution gave them hope, and it was his 26th-minute cross which allowed winger Ahmed Elmohamady also to register his first goal for the club with a towering header. Bruce said: "All of a sudden, we needed to show a little bit of character, and I saw enough to realise that I've got a good group." Sunderland went on to dominate much of the remainder of the game and both Wes Brown and Elmohamady might have won it for them after the break. A point was just reward for their efforts, although less than what was required after a poor performance in defeat at Norwich on Monday and the allegations which saw defender Titus Bramble questioned by police a little more than 24 hours later. However, Bruce, who withdrew skipper Lee Cattermole 20 minutes from time as he flirted with a costly second yellow card, was refusing to be bowed by the boos which sounded around the stadium on the final whistle. He said: "The one thing I won't do is shy away from it. I have been given stick all my life - it just makes the resolve even bigger with me that I will prove people wrong. "I don't what I have to. I will just remind you that Sunderland were 10th last year - that was their third-best finish in 55 years. "It's not as if the club is winning the Champions League year in, year out." The Baggies, like Sunderland, have now won only one of their seven Premier League games to date this season, although manager Roy Hodgson cited a tough start, which saw them face Manchester United, Chelsea and Stoke in their opening three fixtures, as a mitigating factor. He said: "At least we could have had one point on the board, but we had zero points. "Now we have had three away games and one home game and we have taken five points. "We have gone to Norwich, we have gone to Swansea, we have gone to Sunderland, so I would prefer to look at it that it's going to take us longer than a month or two to make up for those zero points from three games. "But you know that during the season, you are playing Manchester United, you are playing Chelsea and the chances are you won't get too much."

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