Black Cats kick off 2011 with home win.
Sunderland 3 Blackburn Rovers 0
1st January 2011
Sunderland moved sixth in the Barclays Premier League with a comprehensive win over Blackburn Rovers at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats started the New Year in fine fashion with goals from Danny Welbeck, Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan as Steve Bruce’s side recorded their sixth home league win of the season.
The hosts were ahead after just ten minutes when Ryan Nelsen partially cleared Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross, but his header fell only as far as Welbeck and the striker returned fire with a smart half-volley that deflected off the New Zealand defender's chest and past a stranded Mark Bunn.
The lead was doubled ten minutes later as Elmohamady’s delivery invited Bent to squeeze in front of Grant Hanley and the England international directed a glancing header past Bunn.
Blackburn offered little in reply, though El Hadji-Diouf should have at least hit the target when Morten Gamst Pedersen's free-kick found him unmarked at the far post and he blasted over from five yards.
Jordan Henderson went close to finding a third early in the second-half but his long range drive shaved the post as the Black Cats exerted their dominance.
Henderson was the provider of Gyan’s late goal; his pass allowed the Ghanaian to drive deep into the box and curl the ball round the retreating Brett Emerton and into Bunn's bottom corner.
Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Bramble, Elmohamady (Angeleri, 85), Ferdinand, Richardson, Malbranque, Henderson, Meyler, Bent (Gyan, 81), Welbeck (Zenden, 69).
Subs not used: Mignolet, Da Silva, Riveros, Cook.