Sunderland and Fletcher back on track
Fulham 1 Sunderland 3:Three second-half goals saw Sunderland pick up their first Barclays Premier League win in seven attempts at the expense of 10-man Fulham this afternoon.
A red card for Fulham captain Brede Hangeland for a rash challenge on Lee Cattermole was the only action of a nervy yet well-contested first half. A 50th minute goal from Steven Fletcher, the striker’s first since the 1-0 win at Wigan in September, opened the scoring before substitute Mladen Petric levelled for the hosts.
Sunderland then scored twice within seven minutes of Petric’s equaliser, through Carlos Cuellar and Stephane Sessegnon, to pick up only their second win at Craven Cottage in the Premier League era.
Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole stopped short of expressing sympathy for Hangeland afterwards. Cattermole, no stranger to red cards himself, told Sky Sports 1: “At the time I thought it was two-footed and the rules say that you can’t do that.
“I don’t think it was too bad but you can’t do that.”
The victory saw the Black Cats move three points clear of the relegation zone, and Cattermole thinks Martin O’Neill’s side are starting to harvest the fruit of their labours.
“It’s massive,” he added. “Every game’s a tough game and we’ve found ourselves playing well but not getting the results we deserved. This was a massive game for us and we got the three points we deserved.
“We’ve got back to back home games now so it’s something we can build on. We’ll take a lot of confidence from that and keep working and try to climb the table.
Fletcher converted Adam Johnson’s cool pass to get the Black Cats moving and the former Wolves man was happy to be back among the goals.
“It was a relief to get a goal and get the three points," said the Scottish striker. "It’s been coming. Sessegnon has been working very hard and he’s been playing brilliantly so it’s fantastic.”