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Sunderland Jump out of Bottom 3 with Victory over Reading

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11:  Sunderland player James McClean (r) celebrates his goal with team mates during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Reading at Stadium of Light on December 11, 2012 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2012

On Tuesday night, two of the bottom three clubs in the English Premier League took to the pitch at the Stadium of Light in a must-win match for both Sunderland and Reading.

When the final whistle was blown by referee Neil Swarbrick, it was Sunderland who came out of the match as 3-0 victors at home.

The Black Cats stole the momentum for the entire match in the third minute when James McClean scored his first goal of the season. 

Sunderland found themselves up by two goals in the 28th minute as Steven Fletcher scored his team-high seventh goal of the season on a clever heel flick. 

Fletcher received a pass in the penalty area from Danny Rose and slotted home the ball with ease. 

Rose had a spectacular performance for the Black Cats, which was highlighted by his assist on the Fletcher goal. 

Another Sunderland player who was stellar on Tuesday night was goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet

Mignolet recorded four saves in the match and stopped Reading from gaining any chance of a comeback in the second half.

The biggest save made by the Belgian shot stopper came in the 54th minute when he saved Nicky Shorey's free kick. 

Mignolet came up big once again int he 89th minute he denied a shot on goal by Noel Hunt. 

In second half stoppage time, Stephane Sessegnon added the Black Cats' third and final goal of the match as he avoided Reading keeper Adam Federici and placed the ball into the back of a wide open net. 

The Black Cats could have won by more than three goals if McClean had converted on two open looks in the 77th minute and in the final seconds of the match.

The win boosted Sunderland into 16th place, just one point behind rivals Newcastle United, with 16 points. 

With the loss, Reading fell further behind their competitors in the relegation battle with just nine points from 16 matches.

The Royals are still in 19th place but are now six points behind the trio of Southampton, Aston Villa and Wigan that sit above the club in the EPL table. 

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