2017-18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Joel Asoro (20')

Sunderland 1-0 Hull City

Joel Asoro scored his maiden Sunderland goal on his first Championship start as they won a tense game between two sides relegated from last season's Premier League.
Asoro's 20th-minute strike means goal difference is all that is keeping Hull above the bottom three and their hosts in it.
Hull pushed hard for a second-half equaliser but could not match the moment of quality the Black Cats' youthful attacking players served up in the early stages. When they did test the home goalkeeper, Robbin Ruiter produced a point-blank save from David Meyler in added time.
Sunderland started with an XI that had four academy graduates but only five league goals between them but the energy of their teenage strikers gave them a much-needed lift against a Hull side who were also low on form and confidence at kick-off.
The Black Cats had spent all week trying to sign an on-loan striker - they agreed a deal with Derby for Chris Martin on Friday afternoon, but face fierce competition for the experienced Championship goalscorer.
After drawing a blank they decided instead to give Sweden Under-21 international Asoro his full Championship debut, and it took just 20 minutes to pay off.
Lee Cattermole set a tenacious tone in midfield and when he won the ball, George Honeyman played an excellent pass. Asoro had time to think about his finish and drilled it across Allan McGregor to give his side the lead.
It was no more than Sunderland deserved for an excellent start which saw Honeyman, in the hole, linking well with fellow academy products Asoro and Josh Maja.
Hull came more into the game during the final 15 minutes of the first half without translating it into work for Ruiter.
Meyler shot straight at the Dutchman and Jon Toral hit his shot over when Seb Larsson pulled a corner back to him.
The Black Cats were forced to absorb a lot of second-half pressure, but looked more likely to score from their counter-attacks.
Fraizer Campbell, like Meyler and Larsson a former Stadium of Light player, missed a glorious chance to equalise midway through the second half, putting Evandro's left-wing cross well wide under pressure with the goal gaping.
Bryan Oviedo had earlier made a stunning goal-line clearance from Michael Dawson, who was involved in a controversial incident with 12 minutes remaining which could have made the game safe for Sunderland.
Asoro anticipated a penalty-area tackle from the defender, booked four minutes earlier for fouling the striker just outside the 18-yard box. Dawson tried to pull out of the challenge and despite the penalty appeals from the home crowd, referee Keith Stroud decided he had managed to do so, booking Asoro for a dive.
Ruiter's save from Meyler prevented Hull from levelling and they have now taken nine points from a possible 45.

English League Championship Standings

1 Leeds United 21 +22 46
2 West Bromwich Albion 21 +21 46
3 Fulham 21 +10 35
4 Bristol City 21 +4 35
5 Nottingham Forest 20 +10 34
6 Preston North End 21 +7 34
7 Brentford 21 +15 33
8 Sheffield Wednesday 21 +9 33
9 Cardiff City 21 +2 31
10 Blackburn Rovers 21 0 31
11 Swansea City 21 0 31
12 Queens Park Rangers 21 -5 31
13 Millwall 21 -1 30
14 Hull City 21 +3 29
15 Birmingham City 21 -6 28
16 Derby County 21 -6 26
17 Charlton Athletic 21 -2 23
18 Reading 20 -2 22
19 Huddersfield Town 21 -10 21
20 Middlesbrough 21 -10 21
21 Luton Town 21 -17 20
22 Stoke City 21 -11 17
23 Wigan Athletic 21 -15 17
24 Barnsley 21 -18 13