Millwall 1-1 Sunderland: Clarke penalty earns Mackems a draw
Jack Clarke’s penalty denied Joe Edwards his first home win as Millwall manager and rescued a 1-1 draw for Sunderland at The Den.
Kevin Nisbet gave the hosts a deserved lead after an energetic first half in South London.
However, Clarke equalised from the penalty spot with 12 minutes left, much to the delight of the travelling Sunderland supporters behind the goal.
Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy had the first shot on target of the match but his tame effort was straight down the throat of Anthony Patterson in the Sunderland goal.
The home fans were calling for a red card after a crunching challenge from Mason Burstow but the forward escaped with a booking.
Millwall won a corner a minute later but Jake Cooper could not get any power behind his header and Patterson caught it with ease.
The Lions were growing into the game and with 10 minutes left of the first half, Norton-Cuffy whipped a superb ball across goal.
Zian Flemming could not get on the end of it but it was a sign of what was to come.
Ryan Leonard fired a sensational long-range effort just wide of the bottom-left post and George Saville forced Patterson into action as the hosts continued to push for the opener.
It finally came on the stroke of half-time when Nisbet tapped the ball past Patterson after another fantastic delivery from Norton-Cuffy.
Sunderland won a free-kick four minutes after half-time but they could not get a touch on Adil Aouchiche’s solid delivery.
The ball eventually fell to Abdoullah Ba but his strike went well wide of Millwall’s goal.
It could have been 2-0 in the 57th minute when confusion in the Sunderland defence set Norton-Cuffy free down the right wing but he scuffed his cut-back and the attack petered out.
The Black Cats had an excellent chance to equalise after a dangerous run from Clarke but Bradley Dack stabbed the ball wide from close range.
Patterson produced a phenomenal save moments later to deny Tom Bradshaw, whose curling effort seemed destined for the bottom-right corner.
Clarke had come alive down the left wing and just as the game seemed to be slipping away from Sunderland, he won a penalty before coolly converting it to get his side back on level terms.
Bradshaw could have restored Millwall’s lead after being put through on goal but another top-quality stop from Patterson kept the score at 1-1.
He finally found the back of the net at the third time of asking but the forward was judged to have been offside and both sides had to settle for a point.