Report: Sunderland 3-1 Birmingham City

Sunderland 3-1 Birmingham City

Sunderland defeated Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham City 3-1 at the Stadium of Light in the Sky Bet Championship.

Tony Mowbray had to reshuffle his defensive pack with Luke O’Nien and Dan Ballard both ruled out through suspension while Denis Cirkin pulled up during the warm-up and was subsequently replaced by Nectar Triantis.

A high-octane first half ended all square, Jobe opened the scoring against his former club before Koyi Miyoshi levelled on the half-hour mark.

The Lads controlled possession in the second 45 and twice found the net through a Dion Sanderson own goal and a first for Adil Aouchiche to claim all three points.

Sunderland started on the front foot, Nazariy Rusyn firing wide of John Ruddy’s right-hand post in the opening seconds of the game.  

The Black Cats should have opened the scoring inside the first 10 minutes when Trai Hume was found in space inside the Blues’ 18-yard box but dragged his shot wide after failing to connect with the ball from close range.

Sunderland almost notched from the resulting corner, Rusyn bending his effort off Ruddy’s woodwork before captain Dan Neil fizzed his shot inches wide from 20 yards out.

The hosts deservedly broke the deadlock on 17 minutes, an unmarked Jobe finding space to poke Rusyn's flicked header past Ruddy from 12 yards out.

Jobe should have increased the Black Cats’ lead five minutes later when Birmingham failed to clear their lines from a Patrick Roberts corner. The midfielder's close-range shot bounced into the ground before rebounding off Ruddy’s near post and into the goalkeeper’s hands.

The visitors came within a whisker of equalising midway through the first half when Ethan Laird’s cross from the right was poked towards goal by Jay Stansfield, but Niall Huggins was alert to clear the ball off the line.

Miyoshi pulled Rooney’s side level on 30 minutes when Stansfield found space inside the box and picked out the Japanese international for a simple tap-in.

Tony Mowbray’s side were fired up after the interval and restored their lead within 10 minutes of the restart, Hume’s looping header at the back post was diverted past Ruddy by Blues defender Aiwu for an own goal.

The hosts all but wrapped up the match with 15 minutes remaining, substitute Aouchiche found space to get on the end of Jack Clarke’s pin-point cross and open his account for the club.

Birmingham piled forward in the closing stages as they looked for a way back into the game, but Anthony Patterson was well-positioned to save Siriki Dembele and Scott Hogan's attempts.

Both goalkeepers were kept on their toes in stoppage time, firstly Ruddy pulling off a terrific stop to deny Eliezer Mayenda and then at the opposite end a full stretch Patterson saved Lukas Jutkiewicz's drilled effort.

The victory stretches Sunderland’s unbeaten run to three matches as they enter the international break. Next up for the Black Cats is an away trip to Plymouth Argyle.

SAFC XI: Patterson, Hume, Seelt, Triantis, Huggins, Neil ©, Ekwah, Roberts (Mayenda 73’), Jobe (Aouchiche 73’), Clarke (Burstow 89’), Rusyn (Ba 61’)

Subs not used: Bishop, Pritchard, Dack, Hemir, Taylor.

Birmingham City XI: Ruddy, Laird (Oakley 83’), Sanderson ©, Bacuna, Miyoshi (Gardner 83’), Drameh, James (Dembele 71), Stansfield (Jutkiewicz 75’), Sunjic, Aiwu, Burke (Hogan 75’)

Subs not used: Etheridge, M. Roberts, Longelo, Khela.

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