English Premiership

Sunderland claim last-gasp win

2011-12-11 17:52
Martin O'Neill (AP)

Sunderland - Martin O'Neill's first match as Sunderland manager ended in a stoppage-time victory as Sebastian Larsson's free-kick sealed a 2-1 come-from-behind win over fellow Premier League strugglers Blackburn Rovers.

There were only six minutes of normal time left when David Vaughan's powerful shot flew past former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson to draw Sunderland level in front of their own fans at the Stadium of Light here on Sunday.

And just when it seemed the hosts would have to settle for a draw, Rovers conceded a free-kick and Larsson curled a shot around the defensive wall that flew in at Robinson's near post.

Victory meant Sunderland climbed out of the relegation zone while Rovers remained in the bottom three.

The win was only the third league success north-east side Sunderland, who recently sacked manager Steve Bruce, had enjoyed so far this season.

Rovers midfielder Simon Vukcevic opened the scoring in the 17th minute when he headed in after Sunderland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood could only parry Christopher Samba's shot.

The Black Cats should have equalised six minutes later but Kieran Richardson failed to get enough power into a shot from six yards out and his effort was well saved by Robinson.

Blackburn seemed content to defend their lead for most of the second half, rather than press for a second goal, and it was a policy that looked as if it would result in a precious away win for Rovers manager Steve Kean until Sunderland's late revival.

Former Leicester and Celtic boss O'Neill had been out of management since ending his four-year spell in charge of Aston Villa last year by resigning from the Birmingham club.

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