Jermain Defoe’s 150th Premier League goal and a Victor Anichebe brace secured a 3-0 victory for 10-man Sunderland over fellow strugglers Hull City at the Stadium of Light as the hosts moved off the bottom of the table.
While both teams had come from behind to win their previous fixture after miserable runs of form, goals from captain Defoe and Anichebe, twice, saw the points go Sunderland’s way on Saturday.
The Black Cats had not won any of their previous five meetings with Hull in all competitions, but David Moyes’ men brought that streak to an end despite a second-half power cut causing a temporary floodlight failure on Wearside, as well as a late red card for Papy Djilobodji.
It was a painful afternoon for Mike Phelan – who was sacked as assistant manager at Manchester United when Moyes succeeded Alex Ferguson in 2013 – with his side failing to take their chances before the break as Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford excelled in goal.
Defoe’s clinical finish put the hosts ahead 11 minutes before half-time, and from that point onwards, there only looked to be one winner.
Anichebe grabbed the second just after the hour mark and the third with six minutes to go in normal time, handing Sunderland a vital first home league win of the season.
After a strong start from Hull, it was the hosts who opened the scoring in some style after 34 minutes through their stand-in skipper.
Defoe took Duncan Watmore’s flick-on under control and shifted away from Ahmed Elmohamady, Curtis Davies and Michael Dawson to rifle left-footed into the bottom corner from inside the area.
Sunderland took encouragement from their advantage, with Anichebe quickly poking wide, before Watmore and Billy Jones both failed to get a shot away in promising positions.
Another opening followed shortly after half-time as David Marshall stood up to block Watmore’s prod from a Defoe header, but the Stadium of Light was then, ironically, plunged into darkness due to a power cut.
When the game finally got back under way, a poor Pickford clearance allowed Hull a rare opportunity, but Ryan Mason dragged his tame effort across the face of goal.
Sunderland then fired in a deserved second through Anichebe, who, like Defoe, had netted in the win at Bournemouth before the international break.
Taking the ball from Patrick van Aanholt after the Dutchman’s winding run from the left, Anichebe dipped inside to thrash a finish past Marshall at his near post.
Determined not to be blown away by Moyes’ men, back came Hull and only Pickford’s acrobatic stop kept Robert Snodgrass’ overhead kick from looping into the net.
Sam Clucas was then denied a penalty after falling under pressure from Paddy McNair, before Pickford again showed his ability with a stunning save in a late goalmouth scramble.
Van Aanholt also blocked twice as Davies, Dieumerci Mbokani and Dawson were all denied, and there was time for Anichebe to grab his second with a strike into the roof of the net from Defoe’s pass.
The game ended on a slight sour note for Sunderland, though, as McNair went off injured and Djilobodji was then dismissed for a second bookable offence as he tripped Jarrod Bowen.
Key Opta stats:
– Defoe has scored more Premier League goals in 2016 than any other Englishman (18), and only Sergio Aguero has scored more (25).
– David Moyes has won four of his six Premier League games against Hull (D1 L1).
– Josh Tymon is the youngest player to make a Premier League appearance for Hull (17 years, 181 days), breaking the record held by Mark Cullen (18 years, 2 days) which was also against Sunderland in April 2010.
– The Black Cats have more red cards than any other Premier League side this season (3) following Papy Djilobodji’s red card in this game.
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