Fulham 1 Sunderland 4 match report: Adam Johnson’s first hat-trick gives Black Cats a lift

Johnson was superb throughout as Gus Poyet's side overtake Crystal Palace to rise off the bottom of the league

Craven Cottage

An England recall for Adam Johnson is improbable, but no longer inconceivable after the right-winger's return to form in the week Theo Walcott was ruled out of the World Cup.

Having inspired Sunderland to a midweek Capital One Cup victory over Manchester United the 26-year-old followed up with a hat-trick against Fulham that enabled the Black Cats’ to climb off the bottom.

The first triple of Johnson’s career, and a goal by Ki Sung-Yueng supplied by Johnson, enabled Sunderland to see off the brief Fulham rally that followed Steve Sidwell’s goal. Victory brought Gus Poyet’s side within a point of safety, and two behind their vanquished opponents.

Poyet, who took over with Sunderland possessing a point from seven games after Paolo Di Canio’s barmy interlude, said: “I will look at the table every two minutes tonight. It has not been nice being bottom but we have lost one in 10 now so we are a bit better.”

 

Of Johnson who won 12 caps for England, but only one under Roy Hodgson in August 2012, he added: “He needs to play for a team that keeps the ball, that gives it to him in space to play. We tried him on the left, then on the right, then he was on the bench, but now the team is more solid and gives him the freedom to perform. I hope he plays for England at the World Cup because if he does it means we will have stayed up”

Poyet was aided by Brede Hangeland failing a fitness test, in his prolonged absence Fulham have the most porous defence in the divison conceding 46 goals. Fulham did warmly welcome back Clint Dempsey for his second home debut – very warmly given the Texan went on strike to force a move at the end of his first spell at the club. In Fulham’s predicament they cannot be too fussed about the identity of possible saviours but Dempsey looks well off Premier League pace at present.

In these matches the first goal is frequently critical and Fulham should have scored it. Mistakes by Wes Brown, then Jack Colback, gifted chances for Dimitar Berbatov and Adel Taarabt but neither could take them. “We dominated and should have been two up,” Rene Meulensteen, Fulham’s manager, said. “Then we give away a free-kick that leaves us with a mountain to climb.”

It was Johnson who won the kick after 29 minutes through Sidwell’s careless challenge. Stockdale got two hands to Johnson’s curler, but failed to keep it out. “It was saveable,” Meulensteen said. Johnson continued to run at opponents and four minutes before the break Riise clattered him on the touchline. Johnson pulled the free-kick back to Ki, whose shot was deflected past Stockdale by Philippe Senderos.

When Sidwell ran off Marcos Alonso to head Duff’s corner in soon after the break a revival threatened. With Sunderland fielding nine of the men who started against Manchester United , while nine of Fulham’s players had not begun a match since New Year’s Day, it seemed probable that the visitors would tire. Fulham struggled, however, to turn possession into chances and it was Sunderland who scored from a lightning counter-attack. Lee Cattermole won possession from Dempsey on the edge of the Sunderland area and the excellent Ki broke away. He fed Jozy Altidore and kept running to take the return before playing in Johnson behind Riise. The winger slid the ball between Stockdale’s legs.

Darren Bent came on, to jeers from Sunderland fans and silence from the home ones, but it was the visitors who concluded the scoring. Altidore dummied Senderos then took the opportunity to win a penalty presented by the defender’s clumsy thigh-high tackle. Johnson converted.

Sidwell should have scored a late consolation but somehow shot at Vito Mannone from two yards. As well as Ray Wilkins on the bench and Alan Curbishley in the directors box, Gianfranco Zola and Robbie Di Matteo were in the stands. With so many potential replacements in attendance it would be no surprise if Mulensteen had trouble sleeping soundly last night.

Line-ups:

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Stockdale; Reither, Senderos, Amorebieta, Riise; Parker, Sidwell; Duff (Dejegah, 68), Taarabt (Kasami, 63), Dempsey (Bent, 79); Berbatov.

Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Mannone; Bardsley, O’Shea, Brown, Alonso; Cattermole; Johnson (Celusta, 86), Ki, Colbeck, Borini (Larsson, 75); Fletcher (Altidore, 66).

Referee: Mike Dean

Man of the match: Johnson (Sunderland)

Match rating: 7/10

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor