Larsson screamer sets Sunderland on their way against United.
Sunderland kicked off 2013 at the Stadium of Light with a convincing 3-0 win over West Ham United.
The Black Cats recorded comfortable home win with goals from Sebastian Larsson, Adam Johnson and James McClean.
Martin O’Neill’s men took an early lead through a wonder strike by Larsson after just 12 minutes and then continued to threaten the Hammers’ goal throughout the game.
A second goal by Johnson just minutes into the second half put the Black Cats firmly in control before a close range third from McClean put the game to bed.
The fans were given extra reasons to cheers when new boy Alfred N’Diaye impressed in his cameo appearance from the bench ten minutes before full time.
The home side started brightly, creating the first chances of the game. Some quick feet from Stephane Sessegnon on the left flank beat James Collins before Adam Johnson’s volley was blocked and the follow up from David Vaughan going wide.
Sunderland continued to pressure the West Ham goal and the Black Cats opened the scoring after just twelve minutes through Sebastian Larsson, who hit a stunning left footed strike from the edge of the box. Johnson’s cross from the left was cleared by Alou Diarra, falling to Larsson who shifted the ball from his right foot because smashing a left shot strike on the half volley from 20 yards out to put Sunderland in front early on.
Sunderland continued to attack the Hammers’ goal with Sessegnon continuing his lively start to the game. The Benin man showed quick feet again beating Collins with a tricky turn on the left, cutting inside to fire a shot on goal which went narrowly wide.
Sunderland were in control throughout the first half with Simon Mignolet only being tested once through a low shot by Carlton Cole which was easily collected.
Martin O’Neill’s men looked for a second before the break with David Vaughan controlling the midfield. The Welshman played in Sessegnon on the edge of the box, where he hit the ball out wide to James McClean. The Irishman’s shot across goal was gathered by Jaaskelainen though as Sunderland went into the break 1-0 up.
Just two minutes after the break Sunderland doubled their through Adam Johnson.
Sessegnon broke on the counter attack on the right wing and hit a ball across the field to McClean who burst forward in acres of space. McClean’s left foot strike was saved by Jaaskelainen and Johnson followed up to hit the rebound in after 47 minutes.
The Black Cats kept pushing the Hammers’ defence, continuing to be in control of the game with McClean, Sessegnon and Fletcher linking up well in front of David Vaughan who controlled the centre of the field.
Jack Colback was the next to test the Hammers’ goal. Bursting forward from left- back he received the ball from Sessegnon where he struck powerfully inside the box but his effort was punched back at him from Jaaskelainen and his follow up volley was deflected onto the keeper’s left hand side post.
Craig Gardner then had a powerful free-kick blocked on the hour mark after Vaughan was brought down on the edge of the box. Gardner, with his trademark powerful efforts, thundered a strike which was blocked by Winston Reid before the referee stopped the game due to theheadinjury on the West Ham man.
Steven Fletcher thought he had added a spectacular third for the home side on 64minutes, but his left footed chipped effort was chalked out for offside. Colback again burst forward from left back where he threaded in the Sunderland front man who hit the ball home but was in an advanced position.
The Black Cats did get their third of the afternoon though ten minutes later through McClean who slotted home from a tight angle on the left hand side. Again the home side broke away on a quick counter attack through Johnson on the right. He played in Sessesgnon on the edge of the box who then knocked on to McClean, unmarked at the back left post to make it 3-0 after 74 minutes.
Martin O’Neill made his first change of the afternoon three minutes later when Connor Wickham replaced Fletcher.
Simon Mignolet was then called into action ten minutes from time when he saved from close range from a powerful Vaz Te shot. The North East Sports Writers’ Player of the Year spread himself big to knock the ball out for a West Ham corner which was eventually cleared.
The visitors attacked again but the Belgian shot stopper again showed why he won his recent award, saving from a James Tomkins effort.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon was saved for new boy Alfred N’Diaye who came on for the final seven minutes of normal time, replacing Johnson. The Frenchman was welcomed to a standing ovation and cheer from almost 40,000 fans - it was almost a dream start for the new boy when his first touch was a strike on goal. The low shot across goal went wide though.
Sunderland comfortably rode out the final 10 minutes of the game to seal their third league win in five games.
- Johnson (N'Diaye)
- Sessegnon (McFadden)
- Fletcher (Wickham)
- Collins (Tomkins)
- Reid Yellow
- Diarra Yellow
- Collison (Vaz Te)
- Cole (Chamakh)
- Tomkins Yellow
- Vaz Te