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Sunderland relegated for second season in a row


relegated for the second season in a row after Liam Boyce's late header gave Burton Albion's survival hopes a huge lift on Saturday.

a goal down with five minutes to play after Paddy McNair's low first-half strike. Darren Bent scored against his old club to level from close range, and Boyce's goal silenced the home support.

Sunderland’s final change saw Jake Clarke-Salter replace the tireless and utterly dominant Lamine Kone, as the Black Cats looked to sure things up and ensure there was no late drama. The opposite happened. And it had to be him.

Steele did well to stop the initial effort from outside the box, but as he did so many times in red and white, Bent pounced to level with four minutes of normal time remaining. O’Shea then struck the crossbar but the drama wasn’t over, as Boyce headed home moments later. Further drama followed as the Black Cats thought they’d levelled, but it was disallowed and their relegation to League One was confirmed.

Sunderland's tumble into the third tier caps a disastrous last two seasons on Wearside, having gone from 10 years of Premier League stability to slide into the third tier for the first time in 30 years.

Confirming their relegation, Sunderland in an official statement on its website said: "Confirmation of relegation has been the culmination of what has been a demoralising season for everyone.

"We began the campaign realistic in the knowledge that with the backdrop of relegation from the Premier League and our financial position, it would be a significant challenge to make an immediate return to the top flight.  However, it was not envisaged nor expected that we would subsequently be facing the prospect of League One football, which makes this position all the harder to take.

"Despite the difficulties we have faced, our fans have been a shining light. They have continued to back the team in their thousands, which has been incredibly humbling to see. We are truly sorry that we have not been able to give them the positive outcome such tremendous support deserves.  This is also a huge blow for

our staff, who have worked tirelessly throughout the season under testing circumstances and uncertainty.  We applaud them for their resilience and dedication; they are fans of the club too and like our supporters, they are hurting.

"Whilst naturally we feel devastated today, there remains a burning desire from within to re-build and re-invigorate the club. As we look at how to best achieve this, it must be recognised that we are in a period of uncertainty in relation to the club’s future ownership and the resolution of this will be the driving factor in how we move forward.

"Sunderland AFC is so much more than a football club. It is an institution that has been at the very heart of its city and community for almost 140 years. It is built on a deep-rooted passion that is proudly passed from generation to generation and it is this enduring and unwavering passion that gives us the strength and fortitude we need in times of challenge. It is through the unstinting support of our fans that Sunderland AFC will rise again."

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