BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Saturday, 20 December 2008

Hull 1-4 Sunderland

By Jonathan Stevenson

Kieran Richardson (left) and Steed Malbranque
Richardson and Malbranque celebrate Sunderland's opening goal

Sunderland moved out of the Premier League relegation zone with a thoroughly deserved victory at Hull.

The Black Cats were the better team throughout and took the lead when Steed Malbranque lashed in from 25 yards.

Hull levelled when Nicky Barmby struck low past Marton Fulop, but Kieran Richardson's drive flew in off Kamil Zayatte to restore Sunderland's lead.

Sam Ricketts was sent off for Hull and Kenwyne Jones headed in, before Djibril Cisse fired home an injury-time fourth.

As well as lifting the Black Cats out of the drop zone, it also gives stand-in boss Ricky Sbragia a real chance of getting the manager's job on a permanent basis.

Saturday's newspapers suggested that Sbragia was two wins away from being appointed and the manner of this result will have boosted his hopes no end.

Having struggled badly in the final few weeks of Roy Keane's tenure, Sunderland are now playing with real determination and passion and they deserved everything they got at the KC Stadium.

They were by far the better team and deservedly took the lead with 10 minutes on the clock.

Danny Collins found Malbranque in space outside the Hull penalty area and with no-one even threatening to close him down, the Frenchman lashed into the top corner.

With Cisse and Jones lively and Andy Reid pulling the strings in midfield the visitors seemed to have control of the game, only to concede a leveller in sloppy fashion.

Sbragia plays down Sunderland job rumours

Hull keeper Boaz Myhill pumped a long ball into the Sunderland area and, after Michael Turner's shot was brilliantly saved by Fulop, Barmby smashed low into the net.

It was his first goal since May's Championship play-off semi-final victory over Watford and his first in the Premier League since scoring for Leeds against Aston Villa in May 2003.

The goal gave Hull confidence and they could twice have gone in front, first Anton Ferdinand getting in a last-ditch block to stop a Barmby drive and then Geovanni seeing a shot saved by Fulop.

The Brazilian thought he had scored with a 30-yard free-kick soon after, but Fulop flew across his line to pull off a stunning save.

Whatever Sbragia said at the interval seemed to do the trick, however, as Sunderland once more set about their high-flying opponents.

Clear-cut chances were thin on the ground, but the Black Cats probed away to try and unlock the Tigers defence.

Richardson skipped past two challenges before forcing a fine parry from Myhill with a fierce right-foot drive from the edge of the box.

Brown admits Hull lost 'composure'

They eventually got the goal their dominance warranted thanks to a huge slice of fortune, Richardson hammering in a speculative 25-yard drive that hit the unfortunate Zayatte and wrong-footed Myhill.

The goal proved disastrous for Hull, who had Ricketts sent off soon after as he was rightly shown a second yellow card by referee Mike Riley following two poorly-timed challenges.

And the visitors rubbed salt into the wound as Malbranque crossed for Jones to head in from close range, before Cisse ran clear to drill a shot into the far corner.

So tight is the Premier League at present that the victory lifted Sunderland up from 18th to 12th in the table.

Hull City manager Phil Brown:
"We're still ahead of schedule, we shouldn't forget that.

"Teams are hitting us on the counter-attack at home and with the pace of the Premier League that's always dangerous.

"But we're not desperate for a win, I definitely wouldn't say that. If we draw every game from now until the end of the season, we'd still stay up."

Sunderland stand-in boss Ricky Sbragia:
"I've not done myself any harm, but we'll see what happens.

"I'm enjoying it, it's beginning to feel nice, especially the winning. But what's important is that we got out of the bottom three and started winning.

"We've done those things and the players have taken responsibility, they have been fantastic for us."

Hull: Myhill, Mendy, Turner, Zayatte, Ricketts, Garcia (Cousin 57), Ashbee, Boateng (Halmosi 81), Geovanni, Barmby (Giannakopoulos 68), King.
Subs Not Used: Duke, Doyle, Windass, Marney.

Sent Off: Ricketts (81).

Booked: Boateng, Ricketts, King.

Goals: Barmby 19.

Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Nosworthy, Ferdinand, Collins, Malbranque, Tainio (Leadbitter 79), Richardson (Edwards 89), Reid (Whitehead 74), Jones, Cisse.
Subs Not Used: Colgan, Murphy, Yorke, Healy.

Booked: Richardson.

Goals: Malbranque 10, Zayatte 78 og, Jones 84, Cisse 90.

Att: 24,917.

Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Sunderland's Steed Malbranque on 7.03 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

Print Sponsor

see also
Sbragia coy over permanent role
20 Dec 08 |  Sunderland
Live text - Premier League
20 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
20 Dec 08 |  Football

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites