Sunderland canter to victory
Published 03/01/2011 | 00:00
Sunderland 3 Blackburn 0: Darren Bent ended his personal goal drought as Sunderland bounced back from their horror show against Blackpool to beat Blackburn 3-0.
The England striker glanced home a header eight minutes after Danny Welbeck's deflected 11th-minute shot had put the Black Cats in front to claim his 10th goal of the season and his first in six games.
Bent could easily have grabbed a second-half hat-trick and was guilty of a glaring 62nd-minute miss from just three yards, although former Sunderland striker El-Hadji Diouf had earlier contrived to fire over from even closer. But substitute Asamoah Gyan sealed victory with a third at the death in front of a crowd of 36,242.
Ahmed Elmohamady resumed his preferred midfield role and it was his ability to deliver the ball into the danger area which was responsible for both first-half goals.
Rovers skipper Ryan Nelsen got his head to Elmohamady's 11th-minute cross and then attempted to block Welbeck's shot, but only succeeded in deflecting the ball past wrong-footed goalkeeper Mark Bunn.
Blackburn's plight became increasingly desperate within eight minutes when Bent got in front of defender Grant Hanley to head Elmohamady's cross into the bottom corner.
But for all their dominance, the home side should have been pegged back 11 minutes before the break when former Sunderland striker El-Hadji Diouf was guilty of a glaring miss from two yards after being left unmarked at the back post from Morten Gamst Pedersen's free-kick.
Rovers boss Steve Kean withdrew Hanley at the break and replaced him with striker Benjani Mwaruwari and the visitors might have capitalised nine minutes after the restart when El-Hadji Diouf did well to get in a cross from the right and Mame Biram Diouf headed it just wide.
However, Gyan made sure a minute from time to wrap up a regulation victory with a fine individual goal.