SUNDERLAND are set to face an FA disciplinary charge for failing to control their players and staff after the closing stages of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Wycombe Wanderers were blighted by a touchline brawl that spilled on to the pitch.

And with the Black Cats’ trip to Fleetwood Town having been rearranged for the final week of the season, George Honeyman is set to miss the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley as a result of his late dismissal at Adams Park.

Duncan Watmore’s stoppage-time equaliser ensured Sunderland maintained their record of scoring in every League One game this season, with the Black Cats now four points behind second-placed Barnsley, who they face at Oakwell tomorrow.

However, it was the events that followed Watmore’s goal that hogged the headlines, with Honeyman’s attempts to prevent the Wycombe bench holding on the ball sparking a bout of pushing and shoving that eventually resulted in the Sunderland skipper being sent off along with Wycombe midfielder Nathan Tyson.

A fractious afternoon also saw Wycombe’s Marcus Bean dismissed for a foul on Watmore and Sunderland assistant manager James Fowler booked for his behaviour on the touchline, and referee Lee Swabey is sure to include all the flashpoints in the written report he submits to the FA later today.

FA officials will assess Swabey’s comments, and both Sunderland and Wycombe are almost certain to receive a disrepute charge that is likely to result in a fine and a warning about the clubs’ future conduct. However, if the scenes are repeated this season, a much more stringent punishment is likely to follow.

“We have to take responsibility for our behaviour, and so do Wycombe,” said Sunderland boss Jack Ross. “Both technical areas have to take responsibility, and you can’t blame an official for that, but I thought the whole game had a lack of control over it.

“I can’t quite believe, after some of the additional time that’s been added this season, that there was only six minutes added. The number of times the game was stopped was quite incredible.

“The game always had that little feel around it, but what happens at the end is not good. I have no issue with my players looking after each other and my staff looking after each other, but it has to be within reason.”

Honeyman’s red card could prove extremely costly, with the midfielder set to miss the Checkatrade Trophy final unless Sunderland opt to appeal against his dismissal.

Honeyman will receive a three-match ban for his sending off, and with the trip to Fleetwood having been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 30 because of international call-ups – Sunderland will now end the season with two away games in the space of five days – his suspension will cover the league games against Barnsley and Walsall as well as the Checkatrade final.

“It’s something I need to look at,” said Ross, when asked whether an appeal was likely in the wake of Saturday’s game. “I honestly don’t know what went on. I saw a lot of people coming together, but I’m going to go and speak to the referee to get clarity on it.

“Once I have clarity on it, I can look at everything and assess whether or not it was justified. If it was justified, there’s nothing we can do about it. If it was not, we will look at it from there.”

The fall-out from Saturday’s draw did not end with Honeyman’s dismissal as Watmore and Tom Flanagan both suffered injuries that prevented them from finishing the game. Watmore’s ankle was damaged by the reckless late challenge that resulted in Bean’s dismissal, while Flanagan appeared to suffer concussion after he was accidentally kicked in the face. Both players are extremely unlikely to feature against Barnsley.

“I wasn’t too enamoured with the tackle (on Watmore),” said Ross. “I thought it was a poor challenge. I thought it was a straight red rather than another yellow, and he’s a bit sore. But it’s his ankle. It’s a separate injury, although it’s still not brilliant for him after he’s had such a long time out.

“Tom’s is a head injury, but I’m not sure how he was on the pitch at the time. We have to assess that and look at it from the protocol side of things.”