Tigers bitten by Black Cats
Sunderland's impressive progress this season continued with a 4-1 victory over Hull City on Saturday. Kamil Zayatte did cancel out Darren Bent's opener during an entertaining first half, but goals from Andy Reid, another from Bent and a Zayatte own goal saw the hosts inflict more away day misery on the Tigers. Sunderland started the game much the brighter and it came as no surprise when they took a deserved lead 13 minutes in. Craig Fagan inexplicably handled in the box and Bent stepped up to calmly fire the resulting penalty low into the bottom corner. Hull did, however, come back into the contest as the half wore on and drew themselves level shortly before the interval. Zayatte rose highest to meet a corner from the left and his header crept past Steed Malbranque on the line and in off the post. The Black Cats soon restored their advantage, though, as four minutes after the interval Reid lashed a loose ball past Boaz Myhill following some slack Tigers defending. Phil Brown handed Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink a Hull debut in an effort to find a route back into the game, but it was Sunderland who wrapped up the points in the 66th minute. Some woeful defending from the Tigers allowed Bent a clear run on goal and he made no mistake as he drilled under the exposed Myhill. Turner thought he had rounded off a dream debut by nodding a fourth 14 minutes from time, but his joy was short lived as Zayatte was deemed to have put through his own net. Threat For much of the first half, Hull looked like a side who had sold their best defender and Sunderland like one who had invested £36million in another summer spending spree. Despite the best efforts of Seyi Olofinjana in the middle of the field, the visitors had no cutting edge, while the Black Cats repeatedly looked a threat through Bent and Fraizer Campbell, who had both been on Phil Brown's summer shopping list, stretching them at regular intervals. It took the home side just 13 minutes to get their noses in front, and they did so quite literally with a helping hand from the visitors. Just what possessed striker Fagan, back inside his own penalty area to help defend a corner, to handle Reid's ball in, only he will know. Referee Martin Atkinson had no option but to point to the spot and Bent duly obliged, blasting low to goalkeeper Myhill's right. Brazilian Geovanni had earlier seen Craig Gordon tip away his speculative 30-yard effort, but Hull were creating little of any note as Fagan was too often left isolated. Turner, playing against the club he left in a £6million switch to the Stadium of Light at the end of the transfer window, headed away a series of high balls with consummate ease, and Sunderland rarely looked to be in any trouble. However, they endured an uncomfortable conclusion to the first half with Zayatte heading straight at Gordon from Stephen Hunt's free-kick, and then looping another effort over the bar from an Ibrahima Sonko long throw. But worse was to come with two minutes of the half remaining. Bruce had opted to play midfielder Kieran Richardson at left-back in the absence of the injured George McCartney, and it was down his flank that Hull got their chance after Anton Ferdinand fouled Fagan. Flapped Gordon flapped at Geovanni's free-kick and, from the resulting corner, Zayatte headed Kamel Ghilas' cross home to level. Brown danced on to the pitch in celebration, but he had his head in his hands minutes later when Fagan headed an inviting cross tamely at Gordon. But order was restored within four minutes of the restart when the home side forced their way in front once again. Myhill had already taken the ball off Campbell's toe after Bent had broken free from Malbranque's through-ball when Andy Dawson survived concerted penalty appeals for his 49th-minute challenge on the former Spurs man. However, the Tigers could simply not force their way out of their own penalty area and when the ball fell to Reid's left foot, he dispatched beyond the keeper with venom to make it 2-1. Brown opted for change with 58 minutes gone when he handed a debut to former Celtic striker Vennegoor of Hesselink, and he then sent on Jozy Altidore for Ghilas six minutes later, but the momentum was firmly with the Wearsiders. The game was effectively over with 66 minutes gone as Hull once again contributed to their own downfall. Ferdinand's ball over the top found Bent in acres of space and, as the blue shirts inexplicably backed away from him, the striker ran in on goal to beat the stranded Myhill from point-blank range. The agony increased for the visitors when Turner forced Zayatte to put through his own net from Reid's corner with 14 minutes remaining to ensure a miserable trip back to East Yorkshire.
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