Swansea City 2 Sunderland 2

Sunderland's James McClean closes down Swansea's Angel Rangel.
Sunderland's James McClean closes down Swansea's Angel Rangel.
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Sunderland led twice at the Liberty Stadium but, in the end, had to be glad of a point against a classy Swansea side which was dangerous even when reduced to 10 men in the closing stages, writes Graeme Anderson.

The Swans played with the confidence that two thumping wins to start the season brings, and they dominated the opening stages.

Just as Sunderland were getting going, a bad injury to defender Neil Taylor, who tangled with Craig Gardner in the 15th minute, saw the Swansea player stretchered off and that seemed to set Sunderland back.

Both sides appeared to be settling for a goalless scoreline approaching half-time when the game suddenly exploded into life with three goals in 10 minutes.

Firstly Fletcher capitalised on a howler from centre-half Ashley Williams to curl a perfectly-placed shot around keeper Michel Vorm from the right in the 40th minute.

Swansea equalised on the stroke of half-time when Nathan Dyer lifted a lovely ball over the Sunderland defence and Wayne Routledge volleyed a fine shot across Simon Mignolet.

Fletcher restored the lead in the last minute of six added on because of the Taylor injury when he tapped home Seb Larsson’s free-kick from the left at the far post.

But Swansea came out strongly in the second half and Sunderland struggled to hold on to their lead before surrendering it in the 65th minute when Michu got on the end of a right-wing cross and headed home from 10 yards.

Defender Chico Flores was sent off for a head-high challenge on substitute Louis Saha in the 70th minute but Sunderland could not capitalise with Swansea still giving as good as they got in the final 20 minutes of an entertaining game.

* Full report and pictures in tonight’s action-packed Football Echo.