SUNDERLAND, England - Sunderland eased the pressure on under-fire manager Martin O'Neill with a crucial 3-0 win over fellow strugglers Reading on Tuesday in the English Premier League.
Black Cats boss O'Neill has been subjected to growing criticism in recent weeks following a woeful run of results in which his side slipped into the relegation zone after Saturday's 3-1 defeat against Chelsea.
But they finally ended a dismal run of just two EPL wins in 23 attempts thanks to goals from James McClean, Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon at the Stadium of Light.
A first victory in five matches lifted Sunderland up to 15th place, while Reading remain second bottom of the table with just nine points from 16 matches.
O'Neill was adamant in the run up to the rearranged fixture that he remained the right man for the job, and with owner and chairman Ellis Short a supportive presence at the stadium before kick-off, the club was presenting a united front.
Sources on Wearside had insisted earlier that O'Neill was safe regardless of what happened on Tuesday evening but, as the first half unfolded, it swiftly became clear Reading were no threat.