Pa­trick Aan­holt lifts Sun­der­land off bot­tom

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SUN­DER­LAND: Pa­trick van Aan­holt’s goal earned Sun­der­land a po­ten­tially price­less 1-0 win over Wat­ford yes­ter­day as they climbed off the foot of the Premier League table.

The Dutch left-back struck for the third time this sea­son in the 49th minute at the Sta­dium of Light as David Moyes’s men re­turned to win­ning ways af­ter back-to­back losses to Swansea City and Chelsea.

With 21 of the last 24 teams who were bot­tom of the table on Christ­mas Day hav­ing been rel­e­gated at the end of the sea­son, it was a timely mo­ment for Sun­der­land to aban­don the base­ment po­si­tion.

They moved up to 18th place, just a point from safety, while Wat­ford slip one place to 12th af­ter a fourth suc­ces­sive away de­feat.

In a mis­lead­ing pref­ace to what would fol­low in a drab first half, both goal­keep­ers were tested in­side the first two min­utes. Sun­der­land de­fender Papy Djilo­bodji saw a header fielded by Wat­ford’s Heurelho Gomes be­fore Jor­dan Pick­ford was forced into a fin­ger-tip save by Nordin Am­ra­bat’s vol­ley at the other end.

Wat­ford cap­tain Troy Deeney re­mains a goal short of 100 for the club and he spurned a chance to reach his cen­tury when he opted to pass to Odion Ighalo, al­low­ing Sun­der­land to clear.

Sun­der­land striker Jer­main De­foe then saw a shot blocked by Miguel Bri­tos, who headed wide of the hosts’ goal fol­low­ing a free-kick shortly af­ter.

Wat­ford were hold­ing their own, but man­ager Wal­ter Maz­zarri was forced into a de­fen­sive reshuf­fle in the 31st minute when Sebastian Prodl had to cede his place to Chris­tian Kabasele.

It was not un­til stop­page time that the first half yielded a chance wor­thy of the name, as Van Aan­holt raced through, only to be thwarted by Gomes.

The former Chelsea player would not be de­nied, how­ever, and duly broke the dead­lock four min­utes into the sec­ond half, swiv­el­ling to score via the post from De­foe’s pass.

The goal em­bold­ened Moyes’s play­ers and the hosts went close to adding a sec­ond goal when Vic­tor Anichebe crashed a shot nar­rowly wide.

Deeney had a sight of goal in the 72nd minute, but he headed wide from Am­ra­bat’s cross, while Pick­ford saved from Daryl Jan­maat and Ighalo amid late, but fruit­less, Wat­ford pres­sure.

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