Sunderland vs Hull match report: Nikica Jelvic caps remarkable comeback to ease pressure on Steve Bruce

Sunderland 1 Hull 3: Adam Johnson scored for the second game running to put the Black Cats ahead but Gaston Ramirez and James Chester turned things around

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When the game-sealing goal came, in the 96th minute, Alex Bruce ran to the Hull City technical area and gave his celebrating manager –and father – a hug here last night.

It was a reminder that a win against Sunderland has an extra meaning for the Bruces, not that there was a need for an additional reason. In victory, Hull climbed out of the bottom three.

It was only their third win of the season, their second since the first day of the campaign and ended a 10-game run without victory. Bruce took an unhealthy amount of abuse in the opposite technical area when his reign at the Stadium of Light finished. The fury that fell from the stands this time was not his.

That was reserved for Andre Marriner, who was asked three times to give Sunderland a penalty inside two first-half minutes. Each time there was a denial. The first shout had the strongest conviction, when Adam Johnson’s cross struck the outstretched left arm of Bruce.

That was in the 40th minute. By the time the 42nd minute had elapsed, the ball had struck the hand of Stephen Quinn and then Curtis Davies. Those two appeals looked more questionable. The season of goodwill, however, was not extended to Marriner, not by those supporters, nor by the outraged manager of their team, Gus Poyet.

Adam Johnson scores the opener for Sunderland

“I’ve got a great life and I’m not going to give the FA one penny,” said Poyet. “He [Marriner] doesn’t need to have my respect. I’m not going to give anything about him. [He will] take nothing from me or from this club. After the penalty incident the game changed. The atmosphere in the stadium and the emotions of the players changed. It’s difficult to cope with those decisions. We spent too much energy on why it was not given.”

The penalty appeals should not be allowed to gloss over the fact that Sunderland were rotten. Gifts in football do not come more perfectly wrapped than the lead that was handed to them in the first minute.

Curtis Davies will never forget the 28 seconds of madness that gave Sunderland such a good start. The Hull captain left a back pass short for Allan McGregor. From then his mind turned to mush. Rather than get rid of the ball, Davies tried to block the run of Adam Johnson.

Gaston Ramirez scores the equaliser for Hull

He ended up flat on his face and whilst still not prepared to use his feet for reasons unknown, tried to dive-head the ball back to his keeper. Finally Johnson took the ball round McGregor and fired Sunderland ahead as Davies came sliding in with a tackle. Bruce blinked one of those long blinks people do in disbelief, and opened his eyes to the reality that it had actually happened.

It would have been easy for Hull to capitulate from such a start, but they did not. In the 32nd minute, Gaston Ramirez was given the time to shoot from 25 yards and just before the ball reached Costel Pantilimon, it struck a bobble and bounced over the Sunderland goalkeeper.

Then came the penalty shouts and from there Hull took complete control. Sunderland stopped playing. In the last 40 minutes, they did not have a shot. They barely had the ball.

Hull Striker Nikica Jelavic rounds out the victory after coming off the bench

In the 51st came the second goal. Ramirez’s right wing corner found James Chester and the defender powered a header past Pantilimon. And then, at the death, the substitute Nikica Jelavic drilled in a third.

“I take no pleasure in that [a fourth successive win over Sunderland],” Bruce said. “I get abuse form the moment I walk in here. The vast majority might think ‘he didn’t do a bad job here’. In some people’s eyes I’m black and white and today I’m pleased to be.”

Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Pantilimon, Vergini (Buckley, 82), O'Shea, Coates, Jones, Cattermole, Alvarez (Altidore, 62), Larsson, Gomez (Giaccherini, 62), Johnson, Fletcher.

Hull City (5-3-2): McGregor, ELmohamady, Davies, Bruce, Chester, Rosenior, Brady (Ince, 88), Meyler, Quinn, Ramirez (Sagbo, 78), Aluko (Jelavic, 89).


Sunderland: Larsson, Vergini, Gomez, Fletcher, Jones.

Hull Chester, Brady.

Man of the match Bruce.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee A Marriner (West Midlands)

Attendance 44,817