WOLVES manager Mick McCarthy delighted in ruining his good friend Martin O’Neill’s day, as his battling side deepened the woes the Northern Irishman is poised to inherit.
Two goals from Steven Fletcher cancelled out Kieran Richardson’s thumping opener in a match that hinged on a controversial penalty won and then missed by Sunderland’s Sebastian Larsson.
O’Neill, appointed Black Cats manager on Saturday, officially takes over today but was in the stands at Molineux to see his new team slump to a fourth defeat in seven games.
McCarthy said: “I’m just glad I’ve made his job harder for him on Monday morning. I’m thrilled that he’s got a harder job than it looked like for however many minutes here. Martin is a pal of mine but I didn’t want to do him any favours.”
Sunderland now lie 17th, just one point above the relegation zone, but could have climbed as high as 14th had Larsson converted from the spot to put them two goals ahead in the 72nd minute.
The Sweden midfielder made the most of a touch from Jody Craddock to swallow dive into the area, but was not as successful with his kick, Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy saving smartly low to his left.
Sunderland caretaker manager Eric Black justifiably called it “the pivotal moment”.
Emboldened, the home side surged to the other end where Matt Jarvis delivered an in-swinging cross from the left that Wes Brown misjudged, allowing Fletcher to power a header down and past Kieren Westwood.
Eight minutes later Fletcher scored his second of the match, and his 10th in 15 league games, sweetly volleying low past Westwood with his left foot after a touch from Jamie O’Hara that prompted accusations of handball.