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Fulham 1-4 Sunderland Prem 21 1314 Daily Mail

last updated Tuesday 14th January 2014, 1:46 PM
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Ian Stafford at Daily Mail

Fulham (0) 1 Sunderland (2) 4

In the week that England discovered that they had lost a fast, goalscoring right winger in Theo Walcott for the World Cup, a forgotten wide man put his hand up in spectacular fashion at Craven Cottage.

Adam Johnson may be some way down the pecking order in England manager Roy Hodgson's check list, but if he keeps on playing like he did against Fulham not only could he gatecrash his way into a Brazilian party but he will almost certainly keep Sunderland in the Premier League.

His hat-trick played a major part in Sunderland's thrashing of Fulham in a week that also saw the north-east side beat Manchester United in the first, home leg of the Capital One Cup. It also avenged their home defeat by the west Londoners on the first day of the season.

In the process, Sunderland have finally left the bottom of the Premier League, a place they have occupied since the third week of the season, leapfrogging Crystal Palace in the process into 19th place and now just one point off 17th-placed West Ham.

With results mainly going Sunderland's way elsewhere and with this fifth away game in the League in succession without defeat, Sunderland have genuine cause for optimism.

This is particularly the case with Johnson, who has endured an indifferent time at Sunderland since returning to the north-east at the start of last season under Martin O'Neill, following a £10million move from Manchester City.

He played the last of his 11 internationals for England during the qualifying games of the 2012 European Championship under Fabio Capello, netting two goals in the process, but, so far, he has failed to make any of Hodgson's squads.

The 26-year-old had only scored once in the league all season, but he vowed last week that a new year would signal a new start and, having won the penalty that beat United midweek, he duly delivered yesterday, becoming the first Sunderland player to score a hat-trick since Darren Bent against Bolton in 2010.

The irony would not have been lost on fellow former England star Bent, who emerged from the Fulham bench to be subjected to less than polite inquiries from the away support concerning the score.

None of this was of any concern to Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who had mixed feelings about the rise of Adam Johnson. 'I want to help Johnno catch Roy Hodgson's eye,' promised the former Uruguay international. 'But I don't want him to play against Uruguay in the World Cup group.

'At 26 he has no more excuses. He played like a dream today and I believe and hope we will now start seeing the best of him. I've been waiting for this day to happen. We are now off the bottom and I am going to look at the table every two minutes all night now.'

Rene Meulensteen was in a contrasting mood. 'Very disappointing,' he surmised. 'We have to take our chances and we must stop conceding like that.'

Johnson began the rout with a free-kick from 20 yards in the 29th minute. Four minutes from the break, Ki Sung-Yeung slotted home from the edge of the box after Johnson's low free-kick.

Steve Sidwell headed home from a Damien Duff corner in the 52nd minute to bring Fulham back into it, but Johnson then drove home in the 69th minute.

And there was still time for Johnson to convert an 85th-minute penalty after Philippe Senderos tripped Altidore.

At the final whistle, the substituted Johnson ran on to snaffle the match ball and wave to the away fans. Both will have enjoyed the long journey back home.

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Stockdale 5; Riether 6, Senderos 5, Amorebieta 5, Riise 5; Parker 6, Sidwell 6; Duff 6 (Dejagah 68, 5), Taarabt 5 (Kasami 63, 5), Dempsey 5 (Bent 79); Berbatov 5
Subs not used: Kacaniklic, Richardson, Hughes, Etheridge

Booked: Sidwell, Riise, Parker

Scorers: Sidwell 52

Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Mannone 7; Bardsley 7, O'Shea 7, Brown 7, Alonso 6; Cattermole 7; Borini 7 (Larsson 75, 6), Ki 8, Colback 7, Johnson 9 (Celustka 87); Fletcher 6 (Altidore 66, 6)
Subs not used: Gardner, Pickford, Giaccherini, Ji

Scorers: Johnson 28, Ki 41, Johnson 68, Johnson pen 85

Booked: Bardsley, Colback, Johnson

Referee: Mike Dean 6

Attendance: 25,564

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