Sunderland won for the first time this season on Saturday as they beat Stoke City 3-1 at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats’ goal-shy strikers finally found their touch as Conor Wickham grabbed the opener, then two goals from Steven Fletcher sealed the win. Charlie Adam had equalized for Stoke but the Potters lacked any real direction in the second half after Victor Moses went off injured early on.
A win for Gus Poyet’s side moves them up to 11th with eight points from seven games, while Stoke are 15th and also on eight points.
[RELATED: Watch the full match replay]
Wickham gave Sunderland the lead after good work down the right from Fletcher in the fourth minute. The Black Cats strike force combined to see Fletcher cross to the back post as Wickham headed home. That goal marked the first tally from a Sunderland striker in the Premier League this season, as Gus Poyet’s men got off to a perfect start.
However, Stoke equalized as Adam bagged his first goal of the season to make it 1-1. The Potters midfielder placed a shot into the bottom corner after a surging run from Victor Moses set up the break. Moses then had to be replaced after a muscle injury and soon after Sunderland were back in front as Fletcher headed home. Jordi Gomez whipped in a great ball from the left after a short-corner routine and Fletcher lost his man to head home his first goal in 17 games. 2-1 to Stoke.
[VIDEO: Premier League highlights, here]
Adam almost equalized for the second-time as his free kick was saved by Mannone with Stoke responding well to going behind for the second time. Peter Crouch almost volleyed home before the break to equalize but Sunderland were ahead at half time.
In the second half Stoke just couldn’t get going and Sunderland defended their lead superbly. In the 78th minute the Black Cats sealed the win with Fletcher’s second goal of the game.
[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]
A break down the right saw the ball come across the box to Jack Rodwell but he completely missed his kick… luckily for Sunderland Fletcher was on hand to sidefoot the ball into the net and put them 3-1 up. That’s how things stayed as the home fans at the Stadium of Light celebrated Sunderland’s first win of the season.
Goals: Wickham (4′), Fletcher (23′, 79′)
Stoke City: Begovic, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Muniesa; Nzonzi, Whelan (Bojan, 70′); Arnautovic, Adam, Moses (Assaidi, 18′) ; Crouch (Walters, 78′)
Goal: Adam (15′)