£12m Fletcher gets two goals in first half to sully Swansea’s clean-sheet start

Swansea 2 Sunderland 2

Martin O'Neill saluted Steven Fletcher after his big-money signing repaid a large chunk of his £12m transfer fee with a valuable double on his league debut.

Fletcher grabbed two in the first half less than a week after his move from Wolves. Swansea rallied twice through Wayne Routledge and Michu to hand Michael Laudrup's men a deserved point.

Swansea unveiled new club-record signing Pablo Hernandez prior to kick-off after his £5.55m move from Valencia but were soon hit by Neil Taylor's injury in the first half, as well as Chico's late red card for a wild challenge on Louis Saha in the closing stages. Taylor could be out for the rest of the season after breaking his ankle.

O'Neill was delighted with his new striker after the 25-year-old Fletcher opened his Sunderland account in style. "I'm hoping he can score on a regular basis for us. Darren Bent was very good in his spell at Sunderland and Steven can score goals. He is nowhere near fit enough at the moment and his work outside the area can improve when he is fit. But I'm pleased for him to get off the mark. Swansea were excellent, but we surrendered the initiative in the second half," he said.

"We gave possession away cheaply to allow them to build momentum and we didn't force the issue with the extra man."

Following a cagey opening, Taylor suffered a serious injury in the 16th minute. Referee Roger East deemed the Wales international fouled Craig Gardner on the right flank, but the left-back came off worse as the Sunderland man pulled his opponent to the floor. After four minutes of on-the-field treatment including oxygen, Taylor was stretchered off.

After that drama the game only really came alive five minutes before the break. Swansea captain Ashley Williams hit a poor back-pass and Fletcher pounced, then took two touches before curling the ball left-footed with his third past Michel Vorm into the bottom corner.

It was the first goal Swansea had conceded this season. But Laudrup's men levelled the score within five minutes. After neat work from Michu, Nathan Dyer chipped through and Routledge, handed the chance to fill the void left by Manchester City's Scott Sinclair, smashed the ball home past Simon Mignolet.

Sunderland regained the lead deep in first-half stoppage time. Sebastian Larsson's dangerous free-kick was flicked on by Angel Rangel and Fletcher nipped in before Chico for a tap-in at the back post.

Swansea had to dig deep once again and Michu went close with a 62nd minute header which bounced into the ground and narrowly flew over the crossbar.

Yet the former Rayo Vallecano goalscoring midfielder went one better four minutes later when his powerful effort from Jonathan de Guzman's cross beat Mignolet.

Then a crazy decision by Chico left Swansea with 10 men for the remaining 20 minutes. Even so they kept pushing in search of a winner, their best chance going when Dyer's shot screwed wide.

Swansea manager Laudrup said: "This was the most important match for us. We showed a lot of character because everything was against us – the injury, the first time we made a mistake they scored to make it 1-0, we came back and then concede past the six minutes of added-on time in the first half.

"We fought back again to make it 2-2 and then two minutes later we were down to 10 men. So this is much more than one point for us. I'm really happy with what we showed."

Swansea (4-3-3): Vorm; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Taylor (Davies, 17); Britton, de Guzman, Michu, (Ki, 78); Dyer, Graham, Routledge (Tate, 73).

Sunderland (4-4-2): Mignolet; Gardner, O'Shea, Cuellar, Colback; Johnson, Larsson, Cattermole (Meyler, 38), McClean; Fletcher, Sessegnon (Campbell, 84).

Referee: Roger East.

Man of the match: Fletcher (Sunderland)

Match rating: 8/10

Martin O'Neill spent £22m on Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson. Fletcher got a first-half brace while Johnson was a threat down the right. Swansea introduced Ki Sung-Yueng with 12 minutes left.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments