Richardson bags brace at Blackpool
Kieran Richardson picked up the baton following Darren Bent's £24million move to Aston Villa by steering Sunderland to a 2-1 victory against Blackpool.
Richardson made the breakthrough in the 15th minute and added a second 10 minutes before half-time at Bloomfield Road.
However Sunderland had to endure a nervous last few minutes as Charlie Adam pulled a goal back in the 85th minute after David Vaughan had been nudged by Titus Bramble.
The visitors made the breakthrough in the 15th minute following a swift counter-attack. Asamoah Gyan released Richardson with a delightful throughball, and he swept a shot into the net for his first goal this season.
Blackpool suddenly broke out of their shell and Craig Gordon made two superb saves in the space of two minutes. He turned away a close-range shot from Luke Varney in the 28th minute after he was set up by the influential Adam.
The Tangerines midfielder then almost equalised, his effort from the edge of the area being turned over the crossbar by Scotland international Gordon.
The Black Cats extended their lead in the 35th minute. Richardson got on the end of a pass from Steed Malbranque and his effort beat Richard Kingson at the goalkeeper's near post.
Kingson was left with a cut on his head early in the second half after blocking from Bolo Zenden. He was unable to continue and was replaced by Paul Rachubka.
Substitute Marlon Harewood was quickly into the action and got the better of Bramble in the 66th minute, but he dragged his shot the wrong side of the post.
Blackpool eventually pulled a goal back in the 85th minute with Adam scoring from the spot after David Vaughan was nudged by Bramble. However, it was too little too late.