Report | Sunderland 1 Swansea City 3

14th January 2023
First team
Sunderland away Liam Cullen celebration

Swansea City recorded their first win of 2023 as goals from Joel Piroe, Liam Cullen and Ollie Cooper sealed victory over 10-man Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The hosts had defender Luke O’Nien dismissed in the 18th minute, and their stubborn defence was eventually broken when Piroe tapped in at the far post five minutes into the second half.

Sunderland hit back through Dan Neil’s close-range effort, but Cullen continued his good run in front of goal by following up to steer a blocked cross into the bottom corner.

Cooper then rounded things off by flashing a rising drive into the roof of the net.

The three points moved the Swans level on points with their hosts, and they now lie just three points off the play-offs after ending Sunderland’s five-match unbeaten run.

The Swans had shown one change from the FA Cup draw at Bristol City, Harry Darling coming in for Nathan Wood in defence against the in-form hosts.

Sunderland made a fast start, pressing with plenty of energy and showing real pace and purpose in attack.

Patrick Roberts fired a free-kick narrowly over having drawn a foul from Harry Darling with a strong run, before Jack Clarke’s shot from distance as straight at Steven Benda.

Swansea responded, Matt Grimes seeing his strike fly agonisingly wide of the post after being teed up by Joe Allen.

But the hosts were soon pressing again, Clarke featuring prominently in a move that ended with Neil’s shot being blocked.

Sunderland away Matt Grimes

The Black Cats were then frustrated not to get a penalty when Amad Diallo went down with Cullen in close attendance, but referee Keith Stroud played on and it led to a major flashpoint when the resulting Swansea attack was ended by a rash, lunging challenge from O’Nien on Cooper.

The Swans players reacted furiously and a flare up followed before temperature settled down, with Stroud producing a red card for the Sunderland defender.

It took a while for the game to settle down again but the Swans began to probe for a way through their hosts.

Darling and Joe Allen had efforts saved by Anthony Patterson in the Sunderland goal, before the Black Cats keeper got down to his right to parry away a Joel Piroe free-kick.

But Sunderland still carried a threat, Ross Stewart steering wide after another excellent run from Clarke.

The clearest chance yet went Swansea’s way two minutes before the break, lovely build-up ended with Piroe being teed up from Manning’s cross, but the Dutchman’s stabbed effort was blocked by substitute Danny Batth as it remained goalless at the interval.

The visitors were soon back on the front foot after the restart, Manning drilling a cross across the face of goal.

And they took the lead just a few minutes later as Grimes floated a superb ball to the far post where Manning stretched to find Piroe to tap in his 10th goal of the season.

Sunderland away team celebrates

It gave the visitors a platform from which to push on and they continued to press as they looked to extend their advantage.

Piroe nearly fed Allen in down the left side of the area, while Manning was off target after cutting infield onto his right foot.

But the hosts were certainly not out of it, and they committed increasing numbers forward whenever the opportunity arose.

And they levelled after Stewart had been able to get on to a long punt upfield. Clarke was the provider, his run and cross allowing the striker to nod the ball down for Neil to fire in from close range.

Having had to work so hard to break down a stubborn defence once, it left the visitors with it all to do again.

But the restored their lead with 21 minutes to go through Cullen.

Again the ball was fed wide to Manning who sent in a teasing cross towards Piroe. The defence cut it out, but only sent the ball into the path of the striker who bundled it in.

Sunderland away Harry Darling

Back came Sunderland, Allen putting a Clarke shot behind at the far post, while Jay Fulton could have put the game to bed after good work by Cooper and Piroe, but tried to cut inside when he should have taken on the shot.

Another chance looked to have gone when Piroe had an effort blocked, but it ran for Cooper to drive on and flash an unstoppable rising drive into the roof of the net and secure the points.

Sunderland: Anthony Patterson, Corry Evans (captain) (Jewison Bennette 84), Daniel Ballard, Patrick Roberts (Danny Batth 22), Ross Stewart (Edouard Michut 84), Trai Hume, Jack Clarke (Leon Dajaku 84), Daniel Neil, Luke O'Nien, Lynden Gooch, Amad Diallo (Abdoullah Ra 84).

Unused Substitutes: Alex Bass, Bailey Wright. 

Swansea City: Steven Benda; Joel Latibeaudiere, Ben Cabango, Harry Darling, Ryan Manning; Jay Fulton, Joe Allen (Olivier Ntcham 77), Matt Grimes (captain), Ollie Cooper (Luke Cundle 87); Liam Cullen (Matty Sorinola 84), Joel Piroe.

Unused Substitutes: Andy Fisher, Nathan Wood, Kyle Naughton, Cameron Congreve. 

Referee: Keith Stroud