Fleetwood went ahead in the first half when striker Ellis Harrison beat Anthony Patterson with a low finish.
Second-half goals from Elliot Embleton, substitute Luke O’Nien and Jack Clarke then gave the Black Cats a vital three points.
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Fleetwood defender was then sent off for a foul on Ross Stewart three minutes from time.
Here’s how the game played out:
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RECAP: Sunderland 3 (Embleton, 55) (O’Nien, 82) (Clarke, 90+1) Fleetwood 1 (Harrison, 28)
Last updated: Tuesday, 08 March, 2022, 23:13
- Sunderland XI: Patterson, Winchester, Wright, Xhemajli (Defoe, 45), Cirkin, Evans (Gooch, 45), Matete, Embleton, Clarke, Roberts (O’Nien, 71), Stewart
- Subs: Hoffmann, Doyle, Hume, Neil, Gooch, O’Nien, Defoe
- Fleetwood XI: Cairns, Andrew, Jules, Harrison (G.Garner, 42), Morris (Thiam, 71), C.Johnson, Baggley (Hayes, 51), Lane, Nsiala, Boyle, Johnston
- Subs: O'Hara, Donaghy, Butterworth, G.Garner, Thiam, Hayes, Bird
Reaction from Alex Neil
Full-Time: Sunderland 3 Fleetwood 1
90+5’ It should be four
Sunderland should have scored again after Gooch released Defoe whose low shot was saved by Cairns.
Cirkin looked certain to score the rebound but sent his shot over.
90+1’ GOAAAAALLLLL CLARKE!!!
That should do it!
What a hit from Clarke who cut in from the left onto his stronger right foot and smashed the ball past Cairns from the edge of the box.
EIGHT MINUTES ADDED TIME
87’ RED CARD
Fleetwood are down to 10 men after Jules flattened Stewart as the striker charged down the right channel.
82’ GOAAAAALLLLLLL O’NIEN!!!
What a moment for Luke O’Nien!
Defoe’s effort from inside the area hit Jules and fell perfectly for O’Nien to beat Cairns with a low finish.
He wheeled off to celebrate in front of the Sunderland fans behind the goal.
76’ YELLOW CARDS
Cirkin is booked for a late challenge on Boyle.
Moments later Jules was shown a yellow card for a foul on Defoe.
71’ Changes for both sides
Luke O’Nien is back!
The midfielder has replaced Roberts for Sunderland’s final change.
Fleetwood have also used their final sub with Chiekh Thiam coming on for Morris.