Fletcher’s double powers Sunderland past Crystal Palace

London, England (SportsNetwork.com) – Steven Fletcher scored on either side of
the intermission on Monday as Sunderland took a 3-1 victory over 10-man
Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Gus Poyet’s side has struggled all season and is coming off consecutive losses
to Southampton and Arsenal in which the Black Cats were outscored by a score
of 10-0, but the club had the better of the play in the early stages.

The visiting side opened the scoring in the 31st minute when Patrick van
Aanholt got free down the left flank to the end line and served in an
excellent cross and Fletcher got his head to it, nodding it down and into the
bottom left corner from about 12 yards out.

Palace grabbed a fortunate equalizer in the 55th minute when a strong attempt
on target forced Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon into a fantastic
diving save, but defender Wes Brown was a bit over eager and knocked the ball
into his own net to put the sides on level terms.

The winning tally materialized in the 79th minute as William Buckley did well
to find space on the right flank and he sent a low ball across the box. Jordi
Gomez waited for it to arrive at his feet before firing a low, accurate strike
into the bottom right corner, past a diving Julian Speroni.

Things then got worse for the home side when Australian international
midfielder Mile Jedinak was shown a second yellow card by referee Phil Dowd
and sent off, reducing the Eagles to 10 men.

Despite playing a man down, Palace could take some solace in the fact that the
fourth official’s board showed five minutes of added time, giving them a
decent chunk to try to find an equalizer,

But it never came and Fletcher completed his double in stoppage time as the
Black Cats hung on for their second win of the season and first at Selhurst
Park in 19 years.