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Derby County vs Sunderland. Sky Bet Championship.

Pride Park StadiumAttendance27,890.

Derby County 1

  • M Vydra (42nd minute)

Sunderland 4

  • G Honeyman (10th minute)
  • A Fletcher (36th minute)
  • A McGeady (50th minute pen)
  • J O'Shea (76th minute)

Derby 1-4 Sunderland: Black Cats dent hosts' play-off hopes

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby and Sunderland

Sunderland boosted their Sky Bet Championship survival hopes as they thrashed a below-par Derby 4-1 at Pride Park on Friday evening.

With their first meaningful attack of the game, the Black Cats took the lead when George Honeyman's curling effort was deflected past Scott Carson by Derby's Craig Forsyth (10), and when Ashley Fletcher capitalised on Richard Keogh's error (36) the shock advantage was doubled.

Vydra concluded an action-packed first half when he lashed home a thunderous volley (42), but any glimmer of hope was extinguished when Aiden McGeady tucked home a penalty minutes after the restart (50).

Player ratings

Derby: Carson (5), Baird (5), Keogh (4), Davies (5), Forsyth (3), Thorne (5), Johnson (5), Weimann (5), Vydra (6), Lawrence (5), Jerome (5)

Subs: Palmer (5), Nugent (5), Ledley (n/a)

Sunderland: Camp (6), Love (6), O'Shea (7), Kone (6), Oviedo (6), McNair (7), Cattermole (6), Honeyman (7), Gooch (6), McGeady (6), Fletcher (7)

Subs: Wilson (5), Matthews (n/a), Maja (n/a)

Man of the match: John O’Shea

John O'Shea's first goal since December 2013 added gloss to the scoreline (76) and hauled Chris Coleman's men off the bottom of the table as the Rams' failure to win blew the play-off race wide open with just seven games remaining.

Without a win since February 3, the hosts dominated the ball in the first nine minutes or so, but as the clock struck 10, they fell behind. Honeyman struck a relatively tame effort goalwards, but thanks to Forsyth's defensive intervention Carson was wrong-footed and the ball nestled in the back of the net.

Ashley Fletcher celebrates after scoring against Derby County
Image: Ashley Fletcher celebrates after scoring against Derby County

Their persistence in playing out from the back went largely unrewarded and, in fact, was to blame for the manner in which Fletcher netted the second; he picked up Keogh's loose pass, evaded the challenge of Curtis Davies and struck a low effort in at the near post - his first Sunderland goal.

But six minutes later, Championship top scorer Vydra made no mistake in pulling one back with a stinging volley after Andreas Weimann had knocked down Bradley Johnson's speculative cross to the far post.

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The timing of the Derby goal certainly could have rattled their opponents, yet barely minutes into the second half McGeady became the next to add his name to the scoresheet when he struck from the spot after Lynden Gooch was felled clumsily by Forsyth.

Team news

The return of Lynden Gooch was one of five changes Chris Coleman made from his side’s 2-0 defeat to Preston before the international break, with Ovie Ejaria missing out due to back and rib injuries.

Gary Rowett was left without the suspended Tom Huddlestone in midfield, though he was boosted by the return of both Matej Vydra and Cameron Jerome, who were restored to the starting XI.

Vydra and co continued to press in search of a goal to pull themselves back into contention, to little avail, and they were almost pegged further back when Fletcher saw a shot clatter off the far post with Carson rooted to the spot.

Owning to Derby's careless defending, the fourth did eventually come 14 minutes from time when Lamine Kone's square ball pinged off the legs of Johnson and the luckless Forsyth, before O'Shea prodded home for the first time in almost four-and-a-half years to move the visitors to within three points of safety.

Man of the match - John O'Shea

It has to be said that, defensively, Sunderland haven't had a lot to shout about this season. But it was a whole different story this evening as they upset the apple-cart and dented Derby's faltering play-off ambitions.

The veteran Irishman - whose future as a professional has come into question in recent weeks - rolled back the years with a composed performance at the heart of a solid back-four employed by Coleman due to a lack of central defenders. Little got past the 36-year-old who sealed the three points with his first goal since scoring in a 4-3 defeat to Chelsea in December 2013.

The managers

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Gary Rowett says Derby’s performance during their 4-1 home defeat against Sunderland was not acceptable and indefensible

Gary Rowett: "Just about everything [went wrong]. I can't defend that, I won't even try to defend it - it was an abject performance. I thought the crowd were very, very good at the start of the game, they stuck behind the players and I felt the players didn't deserve to be stuck behind, quite frankly.

"We've inflicted every single wound that Sunderland have given us tonight and yes, of course they come here and they fight. But I cannot stand here and say anything other than than is not acceptable."

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Chris Coleman was rightly delighted with the performance of his players and the support of the Sunderland fans after their 4-1 win at Derby

Chris Coleman: "We've been chasing for some time to be honest and it always puts you under a bit of pressure when you are the last to kick off. No disrespects to Derby because they are a good team and they are going to be in the playoffs, I would imagine.

"But to come here and score four, we could have won by more really, if we are being honest. That tells you all about the players today - gutsy, greedy, played with no fear - and to put in a performance like that when you are in our position, that says a lot about them. I'm absolutely delighted."

What's next?

Chris Coleman's Sunderland welcome Sheffield Wednesday to the Stadium of Light on Easter Monday, while Derby travel to Deepdale to face Preston in a potentially crucial game in the play-off race, live on Sky Sports Football from 12.30pm.

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