Sunderland started the game well, but after a dominant opening ten minutes from the Black Cats it was Palace who threatened to score first through Jason Puncheon. A goal saving clearance from Vergini fell to Puncheon who cut inside and forced a good save from Pantilimon. Not long after that Sunderland fans had their hearts in their mouths when Rodwell forcefully tackled McArthur but luckily he escaped with just a yellow card.
Palace started to get into the game more as the half went on but both sides were sloppy in possession as neither keeper had much to deal with.
Sunderland ended the very quiet first half well with Scott Dann making a last ditch tackle to deny Fletcher at the back post. The Scotsman was in the action again soon after as his volley from Van Aanholt’s cross was saved by Speroni.
Sunderland were slow to get out the blocks in the second half and they were punished by the inform Glen Murray. Yannick Bolasie’s cross was met at the back post by Murray who steered his header into the bottom corner. Things got even worse for Sunderland three minutes later as Bolasie made it two nil after latching onto Murray’s flick on.
It was back to the same old Sunderland as they conceded a third after O’Shea didn’t deal with a standard long ball allowing Bolasie to chip over Pantilimon.
61 minutes played and Sunderland conceded a fourth as Bolasie completed his hat trick. A simple clearance from defence wasn’t dealt with yet again by O’Shea and he let Murray in who was denied by Pantilimon only for the rebound to fall to Bolasie.
It should have been five nil on 65 minutes but Pantilimon did well to save from Murray after a quick counter attack from Palace.
Connor Wickham pulled a goal back for Sunderland on 89 minutes after good wing play from Van Aanholt set up Wickham for a nice finish into the corner.
Sunderland showed more in the final minutes than they showed all game and they could have added a second goal when Van Aanholt’s shot struck the bar.
Sunderland (4-3-3): Pantilimon, Van Aanholt, Vergini, O'Shea (c), Jones, Cattermole (Bridcutt 63’), Rodwell, Gomez (Johnson 59’), Wickham, Defoe, Fletcher.
Subs: Mannone, Reveillere, Coates, Bridcutt, Buckley, Johnson, Graham.
Goals: Wickham (89’)
Crystal Palace (4-4-1-1): Speroni, Soure (Kelly 35’), Delaney (c), Dann, Ward, Jedinak, McArthur (Ledley 69’), Puncheon, Bolasie (Sanogo 70’), Zaha, Murray.
Subs: Hennessey, Hangeland, Kelly, Ledley, Ameobi, Sanogo, Gayle.
Goals: Murray (48’) Bolasie (51’, 53’, 61’)