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Posh narrowly beaten but bosses disagree on penalty

Grant Leadbitter’s late penalty was enough to seal Sunderland a narrow 1-0 Sky Bet League One victory over Peterborough to extend their unbeaten start at the Stadium of Light.
Stadium of Light
Sunderland FC -photo was taken last year. Photo: John Baker

The Black Cats made it seven points from nine to open the season courtesy of Leadbitter’s first goal for the Black Cats since returning from Middlesbrough in January last year.

The 34-year-old’s 81st-minute penalty was driven low and hard inside goalkeeper Christy Pym’s bottom-right corner having steadied himself while Posh players complained about the decision.

The visitors had the better of the game’s early chances with Siriki Dembele and Jonson Clarke-Harris both forcing the home side’s goalkeeper Lee Burge into saves.

But Sunderland settled and that took some of the sting out of a dangerous Peterborough attack before the break.

The nearest the Black Cats had come to scoring before then was when Luke O’Nien headed Denver Hume’s cross over from 10 yards.

After the restart Sunderland, who went close through O’Nien and Charlie Wyke, enjoyed more of the possession but Peterborough had the best two chances.

Burge denied Jack Taylor from 20 yards before Louis Reed hammered the crossbar with a thunderous free-kick.

Then Hume was tripped by Jack Taylor with 19 minutes left and Leadbitter did the rest to secure a Sunderland win.

Sky Bet League One counterparts Phil Parkinson and Darren Ferguson disagreed over the penalty decision that handed Sunderland three points in a narrow 1-0 win at Peterborough.

With nine minutes remaining, Grant Leadbitter struck the winning goal his manager Parkinson felt he deserved for his approach to winning his place back in the side after being given compassionate leave in the second half of last season.

The 34-year-old scored his first goal since returning to Wearside from Middlesbrough in January last year and his first at the Stadium of Light since scoring for Boro in a 3-3 draw in February 2018.

But Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson did not feel that he should have even have had the chance to take the spot-kick – believing Jack Taylor did not foul Denver Hume in the penalty area when referee Scott Oldham pointed to the spot.

Parkinson, whose side have now won two and drawn one of their opening three league matches, said: “First of all it was a penalty. If Darren watches it back, I don’t think he will complain.

“Grant deserved that today. It was a Premiership penalty. He cleared one off the line as well, moments like that separate the winners and losers and the 0-0 draws.”

Hume darted into the area and then hit the deck under a challenge from Taylor, with the visitors insisting it was as much the Sunderland man’s foul as Taylor’s.

Ferguson was very unhappy and told the Peterborough club website: “It was a tight game – we thought it would be. The referee decided to change that.

“I have just watched it back. It’s a disgraceful decision. It’s a foul on Jack. All the players are fuming. When (I saw it) live, I wasn’t sure. It was an unbelievably bad decision.

“Our performance levels were fine. First 25 minutes we caused all sorts of problems but we have to score in that period.

“Any game of football when it is tight you have to score when on top. We had just got back into the game and the ref shouldn’t have given a decision he has. The ref, if he is honest, it is an appalling decision.”

But Parkinson was delighted that his side have now won two in a row and collected seven points from nine to start the season, extending their unbeaten run.

He said: “We had to be right on the money, disciplined. When things aren’t going your way you have to come through unscathed and we did that. Delighted with three points.

“The work ethic was good. Both teams were playing and it was who would produce a real moment. We passed the ball well too.”