£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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
John Terry puts Chelsea ahead
football
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David performs in his play ‘Fish in the Dark'
theatreFish in the Dark has already generated a record $14.5m in advance ticket sales
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Howard Mollison, as played by Michael Gambon
tvReview: Too often The Casual Vacancy resembled a jumble of deleted scenes from Hot Fuzz
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
news
Arts and Entertainment
Jemima West in Channel 4's Indian Summers (Joss Barratt/Channel 4)
tvReview: More questions and plot twists keep viewers guessing
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003