Hull City 0-1 Sunderland AFC
Sunderland AFC returned to winning ways on Boxing Day, as Jack Clarke’s 11th goal of the season defeated Hull City at the MKM Stadium.
The first half ended goalless in East Yorkshire, but the Black Cats were dealt a blow before the break when an injury forced Bradley Dack out of the game.
Aaron Connolly failed to convert an excellent opportunity following the restart, as both sides loosened their shackles and went in search of an opening goal.
The contest continued to open up and Patrick Roberts was denied one-on-one, with Anthony Patterson’s fingertips ensured Liam Delap’s effort whistled just wide.
Sunderland’s magic moment arrived in the 82nd minute, as Clarke cut inside and sent an unstoppable finish beyond Matt Ingram to seal Michael Beale’s first win.
The Lads made two changes at the MKM Stadium, as Jenson Seelt and Dack replaced Niall Huggins (injured) and Abdoullah Ba (bench).
Timothèe Pembèlè was named in the matchday squad for the first time since his deadline-day move from Paris Saint-Germain, with Alex Pritchard also travelling to HU3 after recovering from illness.
Neither side mustered a meaningful attempt in the opening 20 minutes, with Connolly forcing a routine save before Dack’s half-volley sailed off target.
Jobe had an effort blocked and Trai Hume thundered over the follow-up in the stages that followed, as the Tigers looked to strike on the counter attack.
Dack went down and was unable to continue before the break, with Adil Aouchiche entering the fray at the tail end of a goalless opening 45 minutes.
Connolly had the goal at his mercy within moments of the restart, but the former Brighton & Hove Albion striker passed his effort straight into the grasp of Patterson.
Purposeful play from Aouchiche saw Alfie Jones scramble the ball behind soon after, with Scott Twine threatening on the counter before the hour mark.
A flurry of chances arrived heading into the closing stages and somehow the deadlock remained intact, as Roberts was denied one-on-one before Patterson’s stunning save thwarted Delap.
The Sunderland stopper also kept Tyler Morton out before the end and it proved to be a vital intervention, as Clarke thumped home the winner eight minutes from time.
Hull City: Ingram, Coyle (Christie 58), Greaves, Jones, Tufan, Morton, Delay, Seri, Slater (Traore 88), Twine (Vaughan 88), Connolly (Lokilo 58).
Subs not used: Tutala, McLoughlin, Docherty, Allahyar, Jacob.
Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Ballard, O’Nien, Seelt, Hume, Neil, Ekwah, Dack (Aouchiche 44), Roberts (Pritchard 73), Clarke (Triantis 88), Jobe.
Subs not used: Bishop, Pembele, Ba, Burstow, Rusyn, Maydenda.