SAFC v Reading

Manager's Royals flush

by Kate Smith

O’Neill delighted with three-goal show.

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill was a happy man after watching his side return to winning ways with a comprehensive victory over Reading at the Stadium of Light.

It’s exactly a year to the day since O’Neill took charge of his first game on Wearside - a vital 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers - and that anniversary was marked with similar joyous scenes as the Black Cats turned in a rampant display to upend Reading.  

We scored three good goals and we won the game convincingly.

- Martin O'Neill

Sunderland got off to the best start imaginable with James McClean putting the side in front after three minutes.

 “It was a great performance, very spirited. We scored three good goals and we won the game convincingly,” O’Neill told

“The early goal was very important because recently we’ve been chasing games and sometimes we’ve given ourselves mountains to climb.

“It was great to score early,” the manager continued. “I thought there were signs that James [McClean] is returning to the form we’ve seen from him before.”

Sunderland’s advantage was doubled just before the half-hour mark after the returning Steven Fletcher was in the right place at the right time to clip the ball into the back of the net.

But it was a late Stephane Sessegnon goal that rubber-stamped the triumph after he skipped past a defender and the goalkeeper in trademark fashion to fire Sunderland’s third.

“In terms of the scoreline Sessegnon’s goal made it a fantastic win,” O’Neill added.

“That goal will be a boost to his confidence. He also showed signs of returning to that form he has previously showed.”

After the game, the manager also took a moment to heap praise on the supporters: “The fans were absolutely terrific. Of course they were apprehensive and nervous about the game, but they were very supportive.

“If we can give that effort and commitment every week at the Stadium of Light the crowd will stay with us.”