Goals:

1-0 Flint (5, belted ball home from close range after being granted the freedom of the West Country by ponderous opponents after Pack’s free kick)

2-0 Diedhiou (30, outpaces the Sunderland defence to fasten on to Reid pass and after almost tripping over himself lashes rising shot into roof of net)

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3-0 Diedhiou (37, slots the ball beyond Camp after helping himself to Kent’s inviting ball into the goalmouth following Sunderland corner)

3-1 Brownhill og (70, Sunderland got that bit of luck they deserved as enterprising Cattermole’s header crashes against the crossbar before re-bounding in off the right-back)

3-2 McGeady (81, the substitute showed his attacking nous as he made space for himself in crowded penalty box to slot home Cattermole’s clever free-kick from the byline)

3-3 Pack (90, fortune favoured the brave as Asoro’s goal-bound ball was diverted past Fielding by the midfielder)

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight) - a frantic game for the official but he did well. 8

Bookings: Smith (45, foul); Diedhiou (57, deliberate handball); Jones (72, foul); Bryan (80, foul)

Attendance: 22,580

Entertainment: *****

BRISTOL CITY (4-2-1-1): Fielding 7; Brownhill 6, Flint 6, Wright 5, Bryan 5; Kent 6 (Magnusson, 89), Smith 6, Pack 6, Paterson 6; Reid 7 (Diony h-t, 5); DIEDHIOU 8 (Walsh, 89). Subs (not used): Steele (gk), Engvall, Woodrow, Eliasson.

MIDDLESBROUGH (3-5-2):

6 Camp: He may have been beaten three times but could still leave Ashton Gate with head held high as there was precious little he could do about any of the goals;

5 Clarke-Salter: In for Adam Matthews, it was tough going for the on-loan Chelsea player as he came back from injury

6 O’Shea: The Black Cats skipper was left on his knees in a torrid first half but galvanised his re-organised defence after the break to withstand a City onslaught

5 Browning: The on-loan Everton defender didn’t look as though he was coming or going in the first half but stuck at it;

7 Jones: His second-half block to deny Kent typified his fighting spirit and determination to keep the Robins at bay

9 CATTERMOLE: Played like a man possessed after the interval as he grabbed the game by the proverbial scruff of the neck

7 Honeyman: The Prudhoe-born midfielder clearly thought defence was the best form of attack as he tried to get Sunderland on the front foot

5 Ejaria: A peripheral influence, the on-loan Liverpool player looks as though it will take him time to find his feet in the midfield trenches

5 Oviedo: Struggled to make an impression as he spent most of the time chasing back while the Robins dominated;

8 Asoro: A handful all afternoon for highly-rated Bristol City left-back Joe Bryan and played a key role in the dramatic late equaliser

6 Fletcher: Never stopped working and only a wonder-save from Fielding denied him a first goal in Sunderland colours

Subs

7 LuaLua (for Oviedo 59): So good they named him twice and showed why with a sublime cameo performance to get his team going.

7 McGeady (for Honeyman 71): The 31-year-old showed his young colleagues that the old ones are the best with a smart goal that owed a lot to his wealth of experience.

6 Robson (for Ejaria 83): A small but perfectly-form cameo appearance from the academy product who made a real nuisance of himself.

(not used): Steele (gk), Maja, Gooch, Love.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Lee Cattermole - an inspirational performance as he spearheaded a stunning revival to earn a niche in Wearside folklore.