Premier League - Blackpool win at Sunderland
Tue, 28 Dec 16:59:00 2010
Sunderland had more than 30 shots on goal, but nothing their attacking-minded side could do was enough to beat the charmed Richard Kingson.
Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck were all lively but wasteful, and the closest the home side came to the back of the net was when Bent's free kick rapped the woodwork late on.
Blackpool move into eighth place in the Premier League with their fifth away win of the season.
Sunderland were looking to bounce back from a Boxing Day defeat at Old Trafford, with manager Steve Bruce freshening up the midfield with the reintroduction of David Meyler, Welbeck and Lee Cattermole.
Blackpool, by contrast, came into the match fresh after snow had limited them to just a single match in December so far.
The hosts had the better of the first half, but the opening goal did not come.
Bent found excellent positions and beat the line on several occasions, but his eye for the bottom corner of the far post let him down on a couple of occasions.
Gyan went closer still, finding the side-netting midway through the first half after Cattermole's probing pass had released him, and he had beaten off the challenge of Craig Cathcart and got around goalkeeper Richard Kingson.
And just moments before the interval, Gyan could scarcely believe that he missed at the far post. Ahmed Al Muhammadi's whipped cross from the right broke his way but he was only able to poke wide.
Welbeck cut through the Blackpool defence on a couple of occasions, as did Jordan Henderson, who forced an unconventional save from Kingson 40 minutes in.
But Blackpool held on, and had chances of their own.
Campbell looked particularly sharp. He went close with an effort from range which went inches wide of Craig Gordon's post, and also sent a shot the wrong side of the upright after a breath-taking run down the right from Matt Phillips, an early substitute for the injured Eliot Grandin.
Nedum Onuoha also went off with a hamstring pull around half an hour into the game as both sides were forced into first-half changes.
But the second half continued in the vein of the first, with Welbeck forcing Kingson into a save as Sunderland pressed.
Blackpool finally broke the deadlock when Neil Eardley floated in a left-footed corner which Ian Evatt flicked on into Campbell's path, and the striker tucked the ball effortlessly away.
The goal did not stop Sunderland's possession or momentum. Gyan went close again, sending Henderson's cross over the bar.
Blackpool threatened a second with a powerful far-post header from Cathcart, but soon he found himself back in defensive duty as Phil Bardsley went close at the other end.
Kingson pulled off a spectacular save to deny a forceful close-range shot from substitute Steed Malbranque, on for a disconsolate-looking Gyan, at the near post, before the Ghanaian keeper fluffed an attempt to claim a corner - only for Welbeck to steer his header beyond the far post.
The chances continued to come, but even when Cathcart and Evatt made errors, Bent could not punish them.
And if the Sunderland fans suspected it was not to be their day when Bent's devilish free-kick struck the post rather than the back of the net, they knew it when in the final minute of the match Blackpool found the second.
Phillips burst into the box and slid a perfect low ball past Gordon's reach to Campbell at the far post to stroke home.
Few home fans stayed around to see their unbeaten home record come to an end with a result that kept their side in seventh.
Blackpool, however, are just one place and two points behind their hosts. But they have three games in hand and look set to end the year nestled in the top half of the top flight.Mark Patterson / Eurosport