Sunderland win, finally

LONDON: Darren Bent hit a hat trick to give Sunderland a 4-0 win over Bolton on Tuesday and their first Premier League victory since November.

Sunderland had slipped into danger of relegation after 14 matches without a win but went ahead after 44 seconds through Fraizer Campbell and sealed the victory with Bent’s three second-half goals. The win hoisted Sunderland to 13th place and six points above the three-team relegation zone. The Black Cats are 11 points ahead of last-place Portsmouth, who lost 2-1 to Birmingham in the other match.

Campbell scored from Lorik Cana’s early cross but it was his fellow former Tottenham striker who did most to earn a crucial victory. Bent made it 2-0 in the 64th minute when he outpaced defender Sam Ricketts and shot past goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, and stretched the advantage 10 minutes later by winning and converting a penalty.

Ricketts, who had already been booked, was sent off for pushing over Bent and the England international beat Jaaskelainen with his kick. He completed hat-trick with a finish from Campbell’s 88th-minute cross.

Portsmouth beat Birmingham at the weekend to reach the FA Cup semi-finals but trailed 2-0 to the same team before halftime. Portsmouth started with a three-man attack of Frederic Piquionne, Aruna Dindane and Danny Webber but Cameron Jerome and Christian Benitez combined twice for Birmingham. Jerome scored from Benitez’s 16th-minute pass and then collected a back-heeled pass from the same player to score past diving goalkeeper David James. Nwankwo Kanu got a goal back in the last minute.