x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Bent gives Sunderland first win since November

Darren Bent hit a hat-trick to give Sunderland a 4-0 win over Bolton and its first Premier League victory since November.

Darren Bent hit a hat-trick to give Sunderland a 4-0 win over Bolton and its first Premier League victory since November. Sunderland had slipped into danger of relegation after 14 matches without a win but went ahead after 44 seconds through Fraizer Campbell and sealed the victory with Bent's three second-half goals. The win hoisted Sunderland to 13th place and six points above the three-team relegation zone. The Black Cats are 11 points ahead of last-place Portsmouth, which lost 2-1 to visiting Birmingham in Tuesday's other match. Campbell scored from Lorik Cana's early cross but it was his fellow former Tottenham striker who did most to earn a crucial victory.

Bent made it 2-0 in the 64th minute when he outpaced defender Sam Ricketts and shot past goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, and stretched the advantage 10 minutes later by winning and converting a penalty. Ricketts, who had already been booked for a first-half foul on striker Kenwyne Jones, was sent off for pushing over Bent and the England international beat Jaaskelainen with his kick. He then completed his first hat-trick for Sunderland and took his season tally to 19 with a finish from Campbell's 88th-minute cross.

Portsmouth beat Birmingham at the weekend to reach the FA Cup semifinals but trailed 2-0 to the same team before halftime on Tuesday. Portsmouth started with a three-man attack of Frederic Piquionne, Aruna Dindane and Danny Webber but Cameron Jerome and Christian Benitez combined twice for Birmingham. Jerome scored with a low shot from Benitez's 16th-minute pass then collected a back-heeled pass from the same player to score with a shot under diving goalkeeper David James. Nwankwo Kanu finally got a goal back for the home side in the last minute, heading in Jamie O'Hara's right-wing cross.

*AP