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Fletcher to rescue for Cats

STEVEN Fletcher hit a double to give Sunderland a valuable 2-1 Premier League win at Crystal Palace last night.

The win also saved team-mate Wes Brown's blushes following a bizarre own goal by the former Manchester United defender.

Fletcher gave Gus Poyet's struggling Black Cats a first-half lead, the striker powerfully heading home from 12 yards out on 31 minutes.

However, Sunderland's lead was cancelled out in the 55th minute when, following a Palace corner, Fraizer Campbell backheeled the ball back into the danger area and Brown - on as a substitute for the injured Patrick van Aanholt emerged to slam the ball into his own net, off the inside of the post.

However, Gomez hit the winner in the 79th minute with a fine left-footed effort, across goal and in at the far post.

And Fletcher (above) made sure of the points in injury time as the Palace defence was caught entirely off guard as he flicked the ball past Palace keeper Julian Speroni.Poyet had dropped out-of-form goalkeeper Vito Mannone for Sunderland as Costel Pantilimon came in. Having conceded 10 goals in his previous two outings, including an 8-0 thrashing at Southampton, Mannone missed out as former Manchester City stopper Pantilimon was handed a league debut.

There was also a full debut for experienced full-back Anthony Reveillere who replaced Brown in the Black Cats' defence whilst Connor Wickham and Gomez also returned for Poyet's side.

DUBLIN ISRS NOTICE: Branch meeting this Thursday, November 6th at 8pm (new members and beginners to attend at 7pm). Note: Venue is Fire Brigade Training Centre (Marino), Malahide Road, check our website for details. Annual mass will take place at the new venue at 7pm, all are welcome.