QPR 2-3 Sunderland: Bendtner great-header, Sessegnon solo-run
Wes Brown's glancing header in the 89th minute secured a precious 3-2 win for Sunderland over struggling Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Sunderland took the lead through Nicklas Bendtner’s header before Stephane Sessegnon, impressive throughout, doubled their lead soon after the break with a classy breakaway goal.
But it was a lead the Black Cats surrendered.
Heidar Helguson hit back with a bundled finish in the 63rd minute, despite a hint of offside, and Jamie Mackie made it 2-2 with a close range header.
But Sunderland took all three points from this exhilarating contest after Brown scored his first goal since joining the Wearsiders in the summer.
Neil Warnock insisted before this, QPR’s final home match of 2011, that this January transfer window will be the last that the club enter needing four or five players.
But given how inept his side were in all areas against a competent but far from brilliant Sunderland side, Warnock’s estimate may be proved conservative.
QPR started the stronger and it seemed as though their early promise would translate into the opening goal, such was their dominance.
But Sunderland eventually found their feet and, if not for the poor finishing of Bendtner, should have been ahead in the 16th minute.
Sebastian Larsson fizzed a free-kick in from the left, which was flicked on by David Vaughan only for Bendtner to head against the post, with the whole goal at the Dane’s mercy.
But he atoned for his error just three minutes later.
Darting to the near post, Bendtner headed in Larsson’s corner from the right, despite the ball brushing off his shoulder and into the net.
Sunderland controlled much of the game after taking the lead but had Titus Bramble to thank for his crucial goal-line clearance from Helguson's header, which seemed destined for the back of the net.
Instead, the Black Cats' lead was doubled a minute later when Danny Gabbidon was beaten in the air by Bendtner but somehow headed the ball behind him and into the path of Sessegnon.
The Beninese forward, superb all game, showed fantastic composure to feign his shot – sending Paddy Kenny to ground – before tucking into an empty net.
But QPR were seemingly boosted by the half time introduction of Adel Taarabt.
Left in the cold for much of the season, the Moroccan added some much needed flair and creativity to QPR’s attacks and, just after the hour, the west Londoners pulled one back.
Alejandro Faurlin made an excellent run into the inside-left channel to cross for Helguson who, despite appearing to be slightly offside, bundled in from close range.
The goal lifted the home side and less than five minutes later they had their equaliser through Mackie.
Helguson headed Faurlin’s high cross into the six yard box – allowing Mackie the easy task of stooping low to head in his first goal since returning his long injury lay-off.
QPR looked the more likely to score a third, but Sunderland weathered the storm and, with six minutes of injury time looming, Brown chose a great moment to score his first goal for the club.
The former Manchester United defender met Kieran Richardson’s inswinging corner from the right with a glancing header. Faurlin tried desperately to head off the line but could only head the ball further into his own net.
Brown reeled away in delight as his winner silenced Loftus Road and confirmed QPR’s pressing need to invest in new players if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation dogfight.
QPR: Kenny, Young, Gabbidon, Connolly, Traore, Barton, Faurlin, Derry, Wright-Phillips, Mackie, Helguson. Subs: Cerny, Hill, Hall, Taarabt, Campbell, Bothroyd, Smith
SUNDERLAND: Westwood, O'Shea, Bramble, Brown, Bardsley, Larsson, Cattermole, Vaughan, Richardson, Sessegnon, Bendtner. Subs: Carson, Gardner, Kilgallon, Colback, Ji, McClean, Elmohamady.