Bentdner relieved to open account

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Nicklas Bendtner was happy to take his first goal for Sunderland however it came after helping to ease the pressure on manager Steve Bruce.

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.

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."

He added: "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."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Norwich City
Ahmed Elmohamady
West Bromwich Albion
James Morrison
Simon Mignolet
Chris Brunt
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Shane Long
Nicklas Bendtner
Craig Gardner

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