Fletcher relief as Sunderland seal big win

Steven Fletcher.
Steven Fletcher.
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STEVEN Fletcher admits there is a sense of relief at ending his goal drought after firing Sunderland to a first away victory since February.

Fletcher had experienced the first lean spell of his Sunderland career prior to yesterday’s 3-1 victory at Fulham – going five games without a goal after finding the net five times in his opening four outings for the Black Cats.

But the £12million striker was back among the goals at Craven Cottage, clinically scoring the opener against 10 man Fulham, as Sunderland secured only a second Premier League win of the campaign.

Crucially, Fletcher wasn’t the only Sunderland player to finish on the scoresheet, as Carlos Cuellar opened his account for the Wearsiders and Stephane Sessegnon netted his first goal since March.

Fletcher told the Echo: “It was a bit of relief to get the goal, to be honest. Obviously, it’s been a couple of games where I’ve not been among the goals and I’m just delighted to get on the scoresheet and to get the win.

“The chance came its way yesterday after a fantastic ball from Johnno (Adam Johnson) and I managed to put it away which is great for myself and for the team.

“We needed to get a couple of the other boys on the scoresheet as well. I’m delighted for Sessy because he’s been putting in some great performances. It was a wonderful goal, but we expect that from him, he does it every day in training.”

Fletcher’s goal was cancelled out by Fulham substitute Mladen Petric, but Sunderland regained the lead within three minutes – a crucial breakthrough not lost on the Scotland international.

“It was a relief to regain the lead so quickly,” said the 25-year-old. “I kind of looked up to the sky after that goal and thought thank God for that.

“The past couple of times we’ve gone in the lead, we’ve conceded soft goals. But Carlos got on the end of it from another Johnson cross, which was a fantastic ball.”

Fletcher hopes the victory will provide a launchpad for Martin O’Neill’s side ahead of back-to-back home games against high-flying West Brom and basement boys QPR.

He added: “We know the ability we’ve got in the team. We just needed to get some confidence behind us and hopefully we can take that into next weekend.”