SORRY Sunderland came down to earth with a bang from their FA Cup adventure after losing 2-0 at struggling Blackburn Rovers.
The Black Cats looked flat from the off and could have few complaints about the result in a poor quality contest as Blackburn recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season to move six points clear of the drop zone.
The hosts almost found themselves in front inside the opening three minutes after Junior Hoilett and Yakubu exposed Sunderland’s slack defending, with the latter’s attempted chip over Simon Mignolet cleared off the line by Phil Bardsley.
Blackburn went close again in the 10th minute when Martin Olsson raced in behind Bardsley down the left and hit a low shot from an acute angle which Mignolet blocked well.
Grant Hanley then sent a free header over the top, with Sunderland barely threatening at the other end.
Blackburn continued to carve out the better opportunities in the second half – Mauro Formica drawing a stunning save out of Mignolet with a half-volley on the turn in the 53rd minute.
The breakthrough arrived five minutes later when the Belgian stopper didn’t get enough to Morten Gamst Pedersen’s long throw from the left and Hoilett volleyed into the unguarded goal.
Sunderland finally showed some urgency as the game entered its finale and should have drawn level with 12 minutes to go when the Wearsiders’ only threat James McClean drove the ball across the face of goal.
Substitute Ji Dong-won had the goal at his mercy from four yards out, but somehow contrived to sent the ball looping over the bar.
Blackburn punished the Black Cats for that miss with four minutes to go when Yakubu headed home unmarked from eight yards out after converting Bradley Orr’s pinpoint cross from the right.
BLACKBURN: Robinson, Martin Olsson, Formica (sub Orr 79), Gamst Pedersen, Nzonzi, Dann, Marcus Olsson, Hoilett, Yakubu, Hanley, Lowe. Subs not used: Bunn, Givet, Dunn, Modeste, Petrovic, Goodwillie
SUNDERLAND: Mignolet, Bardsley, Bridge (sub Colback 77), Turner, Larsson, Gardner, Campbell (sub Ji 71), Vaughan, McClean, Kyrgiakos, Bendtner. Subs not used: Gordon, Wickham, Kilgallon, Meyler, Elmohamady. Booked: Campbell (71)