Briggsy Match Report
Sunderland have finally ended their 14 match slump with a flamboyant 4-0 performance against Bolton.
Darren Bent scored his third career hat trick while Frazier Campbell chipped in with this season fastest goal to finally put a smile on Steve Bruce`s face.
Bolton`s Sam Ricketts was sent off for fouling Bent that led to the penalty in the second half to lift the Black Cats to 13th place in the table.
Sunderland have lacked luck, flair and confidence over the last 100 days of the dreaded run which seen them slide dangerously from eighth to sixteenth.
But there was a vibrant mood at the Stadium of Light and Campbell added to it with literally the first attack of the game.
Captain Lorik Cana picked up a loose clearance from the visiting side and pinged a neat cross for Campbell to volley it from close range after 41 seconds.
The away side almost instantly replied with Korean Lee Chung-Yong shot just shy of the up right.
Sunderland continued to dominate throughout the first half and they should have scored two more before the break.
Bent had a shot just skid past the far right post after Campbell played him though on the left hand side.
On-loan defender Alan Hutton then managed to find him self some space in the Bolton box but his shot, like Bent`s, it just narrowly went past the right post.
But it would be the second half in which could possibly be the turning point in Bruce`s first season and where the best of Sunderland shone through.
Lee Cattermole broke free into space and played through Bent, who made no mistake in putting the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Ten minutes later Bent scored his second goal of the night, this time through the means of a penalty.
The England striker broke free into the away box and was clearly body checked by Ricketts, which left Steve Bennett showing him a second yellow card after he was booked for decent earlier in the match.
The 26 year old sent Jaaskelainen the wrong way to all but give the home crowd something to cheer about.
Bent then later sealed his hat trick two minutes from time after again Campbell`s cross was I the right place at the right time.
With that win it now puts the distance at six points and surely a confidence booster towards Sunday`s home game against Manchester City.
Steve Bruce couldn`t hide his delight after the victory and now thinks the only way is up.
He said, "We've been trying to stay positive and trying to keep our spirits up as it's been a long, long time.
It's been close a few times but the win was resounding when it came. It gives everybody a lift after a difficult time.
I'll certainly learn from it. The players deserved it today, as they were excellent from start to finish.
We looked a bit more like it again, which is pleasing. We got the start we wanted and Fraizer can always nip in with a goal, which he did for us.
Winning 4-0 in the Premier League doesn't happen very often and it's good to win again. It was good to see the lads performing and playing with that freedom with the shackles off towards the end. They got their rewards today.
It can't have been easy for the fans over a long, difficult winter and we rewarded them tonight. I thank them again, they have been brilliant and I'm delighted we gave them something to shout about.
And discussing whether Bent has established himself into the England squad for the summer Bruce reacted in a positive manner
He said, 'I have had a bad enough time trying to pick a team for the last three months, so I am not going to tell Fabio Capello how to do it.
'All I can say is he (Darren Bent) must be in his thoughts, he has to be because of his goalscoring exploits.
'No disrespect to us, but to be at a team in the bottom half of the table and get what he has got, it's fantastic.'