£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.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker