McClean makes Black Cats roar
Full-back's free-kick not enough to spur Rs comeback
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 24/03/12 7:45pm
James McClean was in rampant form against 10-man Queens Park Rangers after having a hand in all three of Sunderland's goals as Djibril Cisse saw red for the visitors.
The Irishman, celebrating a contract extension at the Stadium of Light, first delivered a beautiful cross on to the head of masked marksman Nicklas Bendtner who rose above Taye Taiwo.
McClean then laid the ball off to David Vaughan after the interval who drilled a perfect cross into Stephane Sessegnon's path to slide home.
The Black Cats youngster later showed great persistence to fire past Paddy Kenny after seeing his first strike in the box blocked by a luckless Luke Young.
In the midst of all those goals, Cisse was given a straight red for a terrible two-footed challenge on substitute Fraizer Campbell. Mark Hughes later barely broke a smile when Taiwo curled in a free-kick into the top corner which was mere consolation for the visitors.
In the build-up to the game on Wearside, all talk was of Hughes dropping skipper Joey Barton to the QPR bench following a midweek performance against Liverpool which led to his own fans booing the much-maligned midfielder when he was substituted.
On the pitch, Barton's absence meant Wednesday's match-winner Jamie Mackie earned a start for the visitors but it was Sunderland who sprinted out of the blocks, enjoying the better spells of possession.
Jack Colback had passed up two glorious opportunities within a minute of one another as he failed to convert his side-footed effort from close range and then saw his half-volley brush against Kenny's right-hand post.
Sessegnon, back after a three-match ban following his dismissal against Newcastle, was also lively throughout but his rustiness proved to be the problem seven minutes later when he struck a poor effort which failed to trouble Kenny.
The Benin international's effort came seconds after Cisse had seen a rare effort blocked by O'Shea, but the defender's afternoon came to a premature conclusion five minutes later when he limped off with a calf injury.
Tempers flared on the pitch when Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Bobby Zamora clashed with the striker appearing to suggest he had been head-butted. Mike Jones eventually booked the pair.
The opener came with four minutes remaining as McClean threatened once more down the left and delivered a dangerous ball towards the far post for Bendtner to climb high above Taiwo and head firmly into the corner.
A frustrated Adel Taarabt wasted a chance to equalise later when he drilled an ambitious free-kick straight into the defensive wall.
Craig Gardner, who switched to right-back in the absence of stand-in skipper O'Shea, showed endeavour down the flank and with 48 minutes gone he overhit his cross which then saw Vaughan blast high over seconds later.
However, the visitors' plight deepened a minute later when former Sunderland striker Cisse was shown a straight red card for an unsavoury lunge on Campbell.
Sessegnon then tried to capitalise on his side's numerical advantage when he broke clear just before the hour mark but shot high and wide.
The tie was effectively over 20 minutes from time as Nedum Onuoha was caught under the ball, and McClean nipped in and after seeing Young block his initial effort, the winger thumped the rebound past Kenny with the help of a deflection.
The visitors' fortune took a turn for the worse as minutes later Sessegnon slid home Vaughan's cross from close range to make it 3-0.Taiwo responded with a superb 79th minute set-piece, however their midweek last-gasp heroics against Liverpool were not repeated as the North East outfit claimed all three points.
|Sunderland||Team Statistics||Queens Park Rangers|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||1|
|8||Shots off Target||5|
|54.3||1st Half Poss.||45.7|
|48.5||2nd Half Poss.||51.5|
Barclays Premier League
|16||West Bromwich Albion||16||15|
|17||West Ham United||16||14|
Sunderland v QPR
Sunderland's Danny Rose has urged his team-mates to be ready for a fight as they bid to turn their slump around.
QPR can survive the drop if Harry Redknapp can build up the players' belief, says son Jamie.
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill could not hide his disappointment at their failure to beat rock-bottom QPR.
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