Sunderland sink Reading
Sunderland got a home win for the first time in the league since September. However, this may have come at a cost as star players limped off injured.It took only three minutes for James McClean to grab his first goal of the season. Johnson’s corner was only half cleared and the ball found it’s way to the Irishman on the edge of the box. Turning, he swung his leg at it and the ball rocketed through a group of players and into the bottom corner.
Sunderland almost scored again on six minutes. Fletcher sent through Larsson and, from the edge of the box, similar to McClean’s goal scoring position, he hit a shot hat was just tipped wide by Federici in the Reading goal.
It could have been three at one point on Martin O’Neill’s anniversary in charge, after Sessegnon’s deflected shot found its way to Johnson, only for the winger to hit the side netting. However, there were warning signs for the hosts when Reading got a free kick just outside the Sunderland penalty area. Alex Pearce, unmarked, had a free shot at goal but his shot went agonizingly wide for the 250 Reading fans.
However, it was Sunderland on 27 minutes, who doubled the advantage. The outstanding Danny Rose, who was up and down the left wing until he was subbed off through injury in the second half, delivered a good ball into the box. Fletcher, looking for his seventh goal of the season, back heeled the ball into the net from a couple of yards. Reading looked to be staying in 19th.Adam Johnson had to go off at half time after a bad tackle by Jobi McAnuff of Reading. Phil Bardsley came on to replace him.
It was the visitors who got the first real chance of the second half when, just before the hour, Nicky Shorey hit a brilliant free kick and it looked to have been going in but Sunderland’s inform shot stopper Simon Mignolet scrambled across his goal and acrobatically palmed it over.
The next real chance of the game came ten minutes leader. Fletcher flicked in on but Sessegnon’s volley was well saved by the Reading ‘keeper. Danny Rose was then replaced by David Vaughan. The on loan Tottenham defender had picked up an injury in the first half after stretching to tackle when Reading were on the break. Also, the unfit Bardsley pulled up injured, so Sunderland used their final sub when Bramble came on to replace him.
Mignolet made another fine save with not long to go. Noel Hunt’s bullet header seemed to be destined for the net, but somehow Mignolet managed to get a hand and push away.The game was finished yet as deep into the allotted five minutes, Sessegnon was sent through by Cuellar. The Benin international spun round the goal keeper before tapping into the empty net, to send the home fans wild.
Sunderland played much better as the got at the 19th placed side from the first minute. Injuries though to Johnson, Rose and Bardsley will weaken the squad for the Saturday visit to table toppers Man Utd. This win moves Sunderland to 15th and within a point of rivals Newcastle.
Simon Mignolet, Craig Gardner, Danny Rose, John O’Shea, Carlos Cuellar, Adam Johnson, James McClean, Jack Colback, Seb Larsson, Stephane Sessegnon, Steven Fletcher.