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Sunderland earn vital victory
January 14, 2008 13:30 IST
Two goals from Kieran Richardson gave Sunderland a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth on Sunday to boost their hopes of escaping the English Premier League drop zone.
The former Manchester United midfielder struck after 33 and 44 minutes of a scrappy game to hand Roy Keane's side their fifth league victory of the season.
Sunderland remain third from bottom with 20 points from 22 matches, the same as Bolton Wanderers who were beaten 2-1 by Blackburn Rovers in a late kickoff. Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City also have 20 points.
Portsmouth, boasting the best away record in the Premier League, were handicapped by the absence of several key players away on African Nations Cup duty.
Sunderland took advantage with Richardson heavily involved throughout.
Just past the half hour mark he converted from close range after a square pass from Kenwyne Jones. He doubled the lead with a neat finish a minute before the break and was denied a hat-trick by the crossbar in the second half when he tried his luck from distance.
Portsmouth drop a place to ninth, below Blackburn who came from a goal down to leave Bolton is serious relegation trouble.
Kevin Nolan's spectacular volley illuminated a woeful first half but Rovers hit back with a Christopher Samba header and a last-minute solo goal from substitute Jason Roberts.