Sunderland 1-3 Swansea City: Piroe, Cullen and Cooper strike after Luke O’Nien red card


Players from both sides clashed after Luke O'Nien made a challenge on Ollie Cooper
Players from both sides clash after Luke O’Nien’s (right) challenge on Ollie Cooper, which saw the Sunderland defender sent off

Swansea City won for just the second time in 11 Championship matches as Joel Piroe, Liam Cullen and Ollie Cooper struck in a 3-1 victory over 10-man Sunderland.

Piroe tapped in to put Swansea ahead only for Dan Neil to equalise.

But Cullen’s close-range finish and Cooper’s drive secured Swansea’s first away success since early October.

Sunderland were left counting the cost of Luke O’Nien’s 18th-minute red card, for a heavy challenge on Cooper.

The Black Cats drop to 10th in the table, three points short of the play-offs, having lost for the first time in five league games, with Swansea a place below Tony Mowbray’s team on goal difference.

Sunderland have been formidable opponents in recent times, having won five of their nine Championship games before this and progressed in the FA Cup.

But having failed to turn performances into results too often in recent weeks, Swansea took advantage of O’Nien’s dismissal to claim three welcome points.

Sunderland had started the game with intent, pressing Swansea high and denying them possession – although visiting skipper Matt Grimes came closest to an early goal when his 25-yard effort hit the side netting.

The hosts felt they should have had a penalty for Cullen’s challenge on on-loan Manchester United youngster Amad Diallo.

But Swansea broke forward as home appeals were ignored, only for their counter-attack to end in a melee when O’Nien dived in on Cooper near the halfway line.

When order was eventually restored, referee Keith Stroud showed O’Nien a straight red card, while Ben Cabango was booked for his part in the pushing and shoving which followed.

O’Nien’s exit changed the tide of the contest, with Harry Darling’s long-range effort saved by Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson before Piroe’s shot was blocked.

Sunderland, reduced to playing on the counter, had a sight of goal before the break as Ross Stewart – who failed to score for the first time in seven appearances – stabbed wide from Jack Clarke’s centre.

The hosts saw another penalty appeal turned down early in the second half, after Cabango’s tangle with Dan Neil, before Swansea went in front.

Joel Piroe taps in his 10th goal of the season
Joel Piroe taps in his 10th goal of the season

Ryan Manning’s assist was key, the left-back stretching to volley Grimes’ deep cross back across goal to leave Piroe with the simple task of volleying home from a couple of yards out.

Sunderland’s response was admirable, as Clarke did well to cross from the left and Danny Batth’s knockdown was swept in by Neil.

Yet Swansea needed only six minutes to re-establish their lead, as Batth slid to clear Manning’s driven cross, but only succeeded in teeing up the onrushing Cullen, whose instinctive touch guided the ball over the line.

Russell Martin’s team clinched a season’s double over Sunderland when Cooper surged into the box and drove a shot into the top corner with the aid of a slight deflection.

Sunderland head coach Tony Mowbray:

“When it was 11 v 11, I think we were very good. I felt a real intensity about the team. Swansea were struggling to get the ball over the halfway line.

“It felt as if it was going to be a good day for us. Ultimately it turned into a long afternoon against the team with the best possession stats in the league.

“The incident happened where we denied a penalty and then a few seconds later we had a sending off, so the whole game swung on that moment.

“If you are going to pick one team to play a man down, it wouldn’t be Swansea.”

Swansea head coach Russell Martin:

“I am really pleased with the players. It’s such a tough place to come, a really good team. We knew it was going to be a tough game and they started really well.

“Then the game changes on a sending off. I think the penalty [just before the red card] would have been really soft. The sending off’s a sending off – it’s clear as day. It’s reckless, it’s quick, it’s so fast.

“The players weren’t smiling enough when we went into the dressing room. Maybe the expectation is you have to win when they are down to 10 men, but I have told them they need to smile more and enjoy it.

“I think it’s a big, big result for us, a big day for us as a group. It will be a big step for a lot of the young lads.”



Training 4-2-3-1

  • 1patterson
  • 32HumeBooked at 90mins
  • 5ballard
  • 13O’NienBooked at 18mins
  • 11gooch
  • 4EvansSubstituted forMichutdid 83′minutes
  • 24Neil
  • 10RobertsSubstituted forBathdid 22′minutes
  • 16DialloSubstituted forBadid 83′minutes
  • 20ClarkeSubstituted forDumpsterdid 83′minutes
  • 14StewartSubstituted forDajakudid 83′minutes


  • 6Bath
  • 7Dajaku
  • 12bass
  • 17Ba
  • 19Dumpster
  • 25Michut
  • 26Wright


Training 4-2-3-1

  • 13Benda
  • 22LatibeaudiereBooked at 62mins
  • 5CabangoBooked at 19mins
  • 6Darling
  • 3Manning
  • 8Grimes
  • 7AllenSubstituted forntchamdid 76′minutes
  • 31CooperSubstituted forcundledid 87′minutes
  • 4Fulton
  • 20CullenSubstituted forSorinoladid 84′minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 17PiroeBooked at 53mins


  • 1Fisher
  • 10ntcham
  • 18cundle
  • 23Wood
  • 26Naughton
  • 29Sorinola
  • 45Congreve

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