Defeat at Chelsea last week was the Black Cats’ second in seven games under their new boss and they wrapped up a fifth victory of the O’Neill era with Sessegnon and Gardner scoring in either half. It will be a bitter pill to swallow for Brendan Rodgers after seeing his side dominate proceedings on Wearside only to lack a cutting edge in front of goal; something that wasn’t absent in their breathtaking win against Arsenal six days prior. Their latest loss was their seventh on the road this season and saw them drop to 11th in the table as the hosts jumped a place above them collecting their 10th point in 12 since changing managers.
A breathless opening saw the hosts take a surprise lead with Sessegnon doing brilliantly to open his body and curly a magnificent strike beyond Michael Vorm and into the top corner following a quick passing exchange with James McLean on the left. Vorm had earlier tipped Sebastian Larsson’s venomous volley onto the post but had little to do for the rest of the half as Swansea dominated in their pursuit of an equaliser. Despite missing the last three games though injury Wes Brown showed that his sharpness hadn’t deserted him thwarting Nathan Dyer with last ditch tackle before Phil Bardsley denied Scott Sinclair. Chances came and went for the Welsh side with Sinclair firing over from six-yards before Gylfi Sigurdsson saw his cross headed over by Danny Graham jut before half time.
The Icelandic midfielder then tested Simon Mignolet for the first time in the game seeing his 57th minute free kick palmed away by the Sunderland keeper. The home support became restless as Swansea continued to control the contest as they tried and failed to fashion an equaliser allowing the Black Cats to come alive in the final quarter hour and seal the game with an outstanding goal from Gardner. The former Birmingham midfielder controlled Sessegnon’s cross field pass on his chest before lashing a dipping 25-yard volley past Vorm to lift the hosts into 10th and maintain new boss O’Neill’s unbeaten record at the Stadium of Light.