Second-half goals from Billy Jones and Jermain Defoe have helped already-relegated Sunderland to a sixth Premier League win of the season, as they edged out Hull City 2-0 to dent their opponents’ survival hopes.
A first home defeat of 2017 for the Tigers, and a first for boss Marco Silva since March 2014, leaves them two points above Swansea City ahead of the Swans’ home match with Everton later today.
The Tigers created plenty of chances across the 90 minutes but failed to find a way past opposition stopper Jordan Pickford, meaning that their fate is now down to others as the race for survival heats up.
Sam Clucas twice came close to making a first-half breakthrough, testing Pickford from the best chance of the opening 45 minutes when blasting on goal at the end of a knockdown, while also sending another attempt down the middle from range.
Hernandez then latched on to star man Grosicki’s cross, which was superbly deflected behind by John O’Shea in front of goal to ensure that the sides remained level heading into the final 25 minutes.
The key moment in the game arrived soon after, however, as for the second time in the match O’Shea glanced on a corner at the front post, where teammate and unlikely scorer Jones was waiting to power home a header.
Hull went in desperate search of the two goals required, coming agonisingly close to pulling one back when Niasse prodded wide from 10 yards out.
Hernandez was once again thwarted by Pickford from even closer range three minutes later, but with bodies forward Sunderland could counter and they sealed the win in added time – Defoe, in an offside position, bundling over the line from close range to end his scoring drought.