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Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images Wickham is in red hot form for the Black Cats at present.
# In form
Wickham at the double as Sunderland move out of relegation zone
Cardiff City go bottom of the Premier League after a 4-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light.

A BRACE OF goals from the in-form Connor Wickham inspired Sunderland as they surged to a crucial 4-0 win over Premier League relegation rivals Cardiff City at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s defeated side are now rock bottom of the table, while the Black Cats have vacated that position to find themselves 17th and suddenly believing that the most thrilling of escapes is on.

Wickham put the home side in front in the 26th minute with a perfectly-weighted header after a Sebastian Larsson corner found its way through to the back post. The 21-year-old striker reacted coolly to notch his fourth goal in three games.

There was controversy around Sunderland’s second, as Juan Cala conceded a penalty for tugging on Wickham’s shirt, an offence for which referee Phil Dowd red-carded the Spaniard.

Replays showed that the foul had originated just outside the box and Solskjær was livid at the decision. Not that Fabio Borini was distracted; the on-loan Liverpool player tucked the penalty home with confidence.

Gus Poyet’s men maintained the attacking pressure in the second half with their home crowd enjoying the much-improved showing, but they had to wait until the 76th minute for the next goal.

Borini played an intelligent pass into the path of Italian international Emanuele Giacherrini, who tucked the ball past onrushing Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall.

With just under five minutes remaining, Wickham put the cherry on the cake for Sunderland as he grabbed his second goal of the game, heading past Marshall as Cardiff once again dealt with an in-swinging corner in an entirely unconvincing fashion.

The former Ipswich Town forward now has five goals in his last three games, with his goal-scoring form providing hope for Poyet and Black Cats fans as they dream of staying up.

Sunderland face a trip to play Man United on the 3rd of May, before home ties against West Brom [7th of May] and Swansea [11th of May]. Meanwhile, Cardiff have one less game in which to save their season.

Solskjær’s charges face Newcastle away on the 3rd of May and Chelsea at home on the 11th.

Irish midfielder Jeff Hendrick scored a 35-yard stonker for Derby County

LIVE: Liverpool v Chelsea, Barclays Premier League

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