Steven Fletcher

O'Neill's striker delight

by Stuart Vose

Boss hails Fletcher brace.

Martin O'Neill backed striker Steven Fletcher after seeing the hitman open his goalscoring account at Swansea.

Fletcher shone on his league debut for Sunderland, netting twice as the Black Cats earned a draw at the Liberty Stadium.

He opened the scoring just before the break, seizing on a mistake by Ashley Williams before curling a shot in off the post.

Fletcher can finish. We saw that last season too

- Martin O'Neill

“Fletcher did wonderfully well from a nothing situation - the defender dwelled on the ball and was muscled out,” O'Neill said.

“We’ve seen him do it in training, but that’s totally different to being out there on the pitch.

“Fletcher can finish. We saw it in the Barclays Premier League last season too.”

Wayne Routledge equalised shortly afterwards but Fletcher was at it again in first-half stoppage time, tapping home Seb Larsson's free kick.

However, Michu's equaliser in the second period earned Michael Laudrup's side a share of the spoils.

“The second goal was trademark for him,” O'Neill continued.

“He stormed in at the back and that was a great moment for us after losing the initiative when we conceded the equaliser.”

O'Neill added: “It’s a great start for him and the fans chanting his name was great to hear too.”