Michael Beale said his first match in charge of Sunderland “couldn’t have gone any worse” after seeing his new side humbled 3-0 at home by Coventry.

The former Rangers and QPR boss was appointed as Tony Mowbray’s permanent successor at the start of the week but saw his team finish well beaten on home soil following goals from Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, Callum O’Hare and Kasey Palmer.

Beale was also forced to listen to a significant section of the home support at the Stadium of Light chanting his predecessor’s name during the defeat.

He said: “Today couldn’t have gone any worse, let’s be honest about it. We have to apologise to our fans and we have to respond in a couple of days’ time.

“He (Mowbray) did a good job here, and I have no issue with the fans showing their affection towards him because he was a man who they were fond of and he did a good job.

“Ultimately, that’s now gone and we need to look forward. The team needs to get better results than it did today.

“Consistency has maybe been a bit of an issue for the group. That’s our 10th game that we’ve lost this season in 23, and we’ve won 10. So, at the halfway stage of the campaign, we have to decide what team we’re going to be moving forward. We certainly can’t let in three goals a game, that’s for sure.”

Mark Robins, meanwhile, feels his Coventry side have put themselves into a great position to be able to attack the second half of the season after moving to within six points of the Championship play-off places.

Coventry started the campaign slowly, having lost two of last season’s star players, Viktor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer, in the summer transfer window.

A number of signings have gradually bedded in, with the win at the Stadium of Light meaning Robins’ side have now lost just one of their last eight matches.

Robins said: “We lost two brilliant players in the summer, and had a turnover of 25 players. Fourteen players left the club, and 11 came in.

“You’re starting again, and that’s frustrating. It can be frustrating for everyone, but we brought quality in, we know that, it just takes time.

“If you bring in players from abroad who haven’t experienced the Championship before, it can take a while for them to get used to the intensity and the quality of the league.

“It may have surprised one or two, but now, I think they’re starting to see what it’s like and the places you’ve got to come to. The noise in this stadium today was fantastic, so the fact we’ve done what we’ve done shows there’s a bit of growth there going on.

“We can look forward to the second half of the season, although I think this division this year is probably harder than it’s been for a long time because of the teams that are in there and the fact that people have strengthened.”

Michael Beale’s first game as Sunderland head coach ended in disappointment as his side were beaten 3-0 by Coventry at the Stadium of Light.

Beale was confirmed as Tony Mowbray’s successor on Monday, but his maiden outing in charge of his new club did not go to plan as Coventry swept to an emphatic success.

Tatsuhiro Sakamoto opened the scoring for Mark Robins’ side in first-half stoppage time, with Callum O’Hare and Kasey Palmer also finding the net in the second half.

Coventry’s win means they have now lost just one of their last eight matches, and while the Sky Blues might have started the season slowly after losing both Viktor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer in the summer, they look increasingly well set for another tilt at the play-offs.

That will also be Sunderland’s ambition, although Beale’s side will have to improve markedly if the former Rangers and QPR boss is to build on Mowbray’s good work over the course of the last 15 months.

Beale made one change for his first game in charge, restoring Jobe Bellingham to the starting line-up. The teenager had a famous face watching him from the stands, with his brother, Jude, observing from the directors’ box after returning to England at the start of Real Madrid’s winter break.

Jobe was stationed as an attacking midfielder, with Abdoullah Ba playing ahead of him as a false number nine, and the latter should have opened the scoring in the 20th minute.

Coventry goalkeeper Brad Collins could only parry Jack Clarke’s shot from just outside the area, with the ball rebounding invitingly for Ba, who was unmarked 10 yards out. The 20-year-old looked certain to score, but instead skied a poor effort over the crossbar.

Sunderland were on top at that stage, but the hosts were indebted to their goalkeeper, Anthony Patterson, for a fine double save from Haji Wright and O’Hare that kept the scoresheet blank midway through the first half.

However, the Sunderland goalkeeper was beaten as Coventry took the lead just before the break. O’Hare delivered a low cross after Luke O’Nien’s error enabled him to break down the left-hand side, and while Sakamoto’s initial shot was saved at the back post, the ball rebounded back off the Japanese midfielder and into the net.

Clarke twice went close to claiming an equaliser at the start of the second half, firing in shots that were saved by Collins, and Bellingham also saw an effort blocked close to the goalline as Sunderland tried to crank up the pressure.

Coventry remained a significant threat on the break though, and the visitors doubled their lead in the 67th minute. Wright pulled the ball back from close to the byline, and O’Hare curled a clinical finish into the far corner.

The second goal was the cue for a section of the Stadium of Light support to begin chanting Mowbray’s name, and the singing became louder when Coventry added a third goal three minutes later.

Patterson failed to hold on to a low cross from the left, and substitute Palmer was left with the simple task of rolling home from close range.

Liam Manning joked that he had aged ten years watching his City team defend for their lives to beat impressive Sunderland in the Sky Bet Championship.

Tommy Conway’s 20th-minute penalty, after Taylor Gardner-Hickman was tripped by Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson, proved enough to settle a hugely competitive game at Ashton Gate.

Play-off hopefuls Sunderland dominated for long periods of the second half but could find no way past inspired City keeper Max O’Leary, who made brilliant saves to keep out two Luke O’Nien headers and one from substitute Jobe Bellingham.

Head coach Manning said: “Max was outstanding, not just with his saves but the composure he showed under pressure.

“I’ve aged 10 years watching the game but I’m delighted for the lads because of the togetherness and spirit they showed.

“We have played better, but despite defending for long periods we were always a threat and had chances to extend the lead.

“I have a terrific group of players and, while there is room for them to develop, they lack nothing in effort.

“In a tough league like the Championship, you cannot afford to get too high when you win or too down when you lose.

“What the fans want to see above all is a team putting bodies on the line and giving 100 per cent. There could be no complaints on that score today.

“The commitment to block shots and stop crosses was fantastic. It had to be because Sunderland played well, particularly in the second half.

“Still, I felt we were always capable of catching them on the break. Anis Mehmeti has hit a post and Harry Cornick was through on goal after going on as a substitute.”

Sunderland were caught playing out from the back for the penalty, having survived a previous scare doing the same, and interim coach Mike Dodds was understandably frustrated.

“My anger is mainly directed at a mad 15 minutes in the first half when we invited Bristol City to take the lead,” he said.

“Apart from the penalty incident, there were three or four other lapses that went unpunished and it gave them impetus.

“If I had seen that sort of sloppiness in training, the players concerned wouldn’t have been in the team.

“I haven’t seen it from the team before and don’t want to again. There were words spoken about it at half-time.

“We completely controlled the second half and created chances without taking them. I can live with that, but what happened in the first half was unacceptable.

“Their keeper has made some good saves, but at times our finishing could have been better.”

Of his own situation, Dodds added: “The club have been great in communicating with me and the ball is firmly in their court over what happens next.

“Whoever becomes the next head coach will inherit a fantastic dressing room at a club definitely on the up.”

The hosts hit a post in the first half through Mehmeti’s curling shot but had to survive several Sunderland penalty appeals during a backs-to-the-wall second half.

Playing towards their 2,600 travelling fans, the visitors applied constant pressure, only to be denied by O’Leary and some committed last-ditch defending.

Cornick had a great chance to settle the outcome when breaking clear, but the hosts were hanging on at the end before celebrating three hard-earned points.

Tommy Conway’s first half penalty and a string of fine saves from Max O’Leary saw Bristol City record a 1-0 Sky Bet Championship win over Sunderland.

The hosts made the decisive breakthrough in the 20th minute after Sunderland were caught playing out from the back. Taylor Gardner-Hickman was tripped by goalkeeper Anthony Patterson and Conway sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with a low spot-kick.

An inspired performance from O’Leary protected the lead and Sunderland will feel hugely frustrated not to have taken something from an impressive display at Ashton Gate.

The game began badly for Conway, who picked up a booking on 45 seconds for a late challenge on Luke O’Nien.

The hosts had a strong penalty appeal rejected in the seventh minute when Mark Sykes went down inside the box.

However, Sunderland looked in confident mood with Trai Hume and Patrick Roberts forcing early saves from O’Leary.

Conway’s penalty was City’s first shot on target, but it galvanised Liam Manning’s team and six minutes later Anis Mehmeti struck a post with a low drive from inside the box.

Patterson had to dive to keep out a Jason Knight shot from distance, but Sunderland gradually rediscovered their composure and saw efforts from Jack Clarke and Roberts fly wide of O’Leary’s goal.

Roberts should have done better with his left-footed curler but caused problems with his ability to take on and beat defenders.

Sunderland finished the half strongly, with Rob Dickie picking up a booking for halting a dangerous run from Hume and Alex Pritchard clipping the crossbar with a free-kick from out on the left wing.

The second half began with the visitors playing towards their 2,600 travelling fans. They forced a string of corners and O’Leary was not able to hold a low shot from Pierre Ekwah to concede the first of them.

It was all Sunderland as O’Leary produced a brilliant save on his line to keep out O’Nien’s header and another diving stop to deny Abdoullah Ba.

Gardner-Hickman had a shot saved by Patterson on a rare City break but they came under more pressure and O’Leary had to be alert again to keep out another O’Nien header.

A couple of Sunderland penalty appeals for handball were waved aside by referee Stephen Martin as City defended for their lives, then O’Leary made yet another stunning stop, diving full-length to keep out a header from substitute Jobe Bellingham.

City had a great chance to settle the outcome when substitute Harry Cornick broke clear, only for his control to let him down as he prepared to shoot.

Sunderland threw everything into the dying minutes but they dropped out of the top six as Manning’s men put bodies on the line in front of the unbeatable O’Leary to hold out.

Sunderland caretaker Mike Dodds believes Jobe Bellingham can emerge from his superstar brother’s shadow and go “to the very top” himself after the teenager’s late winner ended Leeds’ seven-game unbeaten run.

The 18-year-old headed his fourth career goal in the 78th minute to secure a 1-0 EFL Championship win over the third-placed Whites on the same night his elder sibling and England international Jude was helping Real Madrid to victory over Union Berlin in the Champions League.

Dodds admitted it is “really difficult” for young Bellingham as he strives to make his way in a sport where his 20-year-old brother is regarded as one of the best on the planet, but he believes he has all the attributes to make a name for himself.

“Both brothers have a very similar mindset in terms of their relentless pursuit of where they want to get to,” said Dodds.

“He made a really brave and tough decision to leave Birmingham, the club he supported all his life. Thankfully from my perspective, it looks like he’s made the right decision and I’m sure he would reiterate that.

“But it is tough for him, it is tough for him. And it will only get easier as he gets credit in the bank for himself.

“I think it speaks volumes for Jobe that as an 18-year-old boy in the Championship, he could play as a nine against West Brom on Saturday and then a 10 against Leeds tonight.

“That shows what quality and class he has and just highlights what a fantastic talent he is regardless of the name on the back of his shirt.

“I think he can go to the very top. I’ve worked with a lot of young players and he would be up there with the very best I’ve worked with.”

Dodds was “over the moon” after he made it back-to-back home wins over West Brom and Leeds since taking the reins after the sacking of Tony Mowbray last week. Reims manager Will Still is currently the favourite to take over but Dodds expects to be in charge for Saturday’s trip to Bristol City.

“I’ve not had enough time to process what’s actually happened,” he said. “It’s been a whirlwind since last Tuesday. I knew how much effort I’d have to put in to prepare for these games and I’m tired.

“I’ve got a day off tomorrow and I’m going to spend the day Christmas shopping and trying to switch off. Then Thursday will be business as usual in terms of preparing for Saturday.”

Leeds boss Daniel Farke was loathe to criticise his team after they had won six of their previous seven matches.

“Congratulations to Sunderland for a great defensive effort,” he said.

“In general, I’m struggling to criticise my lads too much. It was a difficult away game and I thought we dominated for many periods but we didn’t find the cutting edge today.

“And credit to Sunderland, they tried to park the bus and they did really well. They gave their life in order to defend everything.”

Jobe Bellingham notched a second-half winner as managerless Sunderland ended high-flying Leeds’ seven-game unbeaten run at the Stadium of Light.

The younger brother of Real Madrid and England superstar Jude scored the fourth goal of his fledgling career to eke out a 1-0 victory over Daniel Farke’s third-placed side, who slipped 10 points behind new EFL Championship leaders Ipswich.

It was a second win in two games for Sunderland caretaker Mike Dodds since the sacking of Tony Mowbray last week and the Black Cats – for whom Will Still is the favourite to take the reins on a permanent basis – remain sixth in the table.

Dodds made three changes to the side that started Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to West Brom, with Jenson Seelt, Abdoullah Ba and Alex Pritchard all added as Pierre Ekwah, Adil Aouchiche and Patrick Roberts dropped to the bench.

There was one enforced alteration to the Leeds team from Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Blackburn as Sam Byram missed out through injury and Djed Spence slotted in at left-back for his first start since joining on loan from Tottenham in the summer.

The visitors started brightly and had the first attempt of the night in the fourth minute when Crysencio Summerville’s inswinging free-kick from wide on the left had to be tipped behind for a corner by Anthony Patterson.

Leeds – enjoying the majority of the early possession – went close again in the 16th minute after working the ball towards Spence, who curled a low right-footed effort just wide from 20 yards out.

Having been on the back foot, Sunderland – largely inspired by Jack Clarke and Alex Pritchard – gained the upper hand as the half wore on and should have gone in ahead at the break.

Pritchard was desperately unlucky to see a 21st-minute strike from the angle of the box drift agonisingly wide of the far post.

Then on the half hour, the former Norwich and Huddersfield midfielder’s free-kick from wide on the left caused panic in the Leeds box before being scrambled clear.

Seconds later Illan Meslier made a sensational save when he dived full stretch to his left to claw out Seelt’s header following a Pritchard corner into the box.

Another Pritchard deliver in the 38th minute should have led to a Sunderland opener, but Bellingham sent a free header wide from six yards out.

The hosts continued to threaten after the interval and Niall Huggins forced another save from Meslier after Archie Gray’s headed clearance fell kindly to him on the edge of the box.

At the other end, Glen Kamara had a strike from edge of the box blocked by Patterson before Summerville tested the Sunderland keeper in the 72nd minute after a rapid counter-attack.

But Sunderland made the breakthrough in the 78th minute when 18-year-old Bellingham reacted sharply to nod a bouncing ball beyond Meslier from four yards out after Pritchard – stationed in the D outside the box – headed the ball back into the danger area following an attempted clearance by Pascal Struijk.

Interim boss Mike Dodds expects to still be in charge of Sunderland for Tuesday’s visit of Leeds after guiding the Black Cats to a 2-1 win over West Brom.

Dodds was handed the head coach role on a temporary basis after Tony Mowbray was sacked earlier this week and got off to the perfect start as the hosts brought a three-game winless run to an end.

The interview process for a new head coach is under way but Dodds does not expect an appointment to be made in the coming days.

“As far as I’m aware I’m in charge on Tuesday, nobody has told me otherwise,” said Dodds.

“I will stick to my plan until someone else tells me otherwise.”

Dan Ballard and Dan Neil scored Sunderland’s second-half goals against the Baggies, who halved the deficit through substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante late on but couldn’t force an equaliser.

Dodds said: “I’m a perfectionist and I want to have complete control of the game, I didn’t like elements of the first half where they had too much control of the ball, albeit without hurting us too much.

“I think they played through us and our shape a little too much. The second half I think is a Sunderland team regardless of who is in charge: youthful, on the front foot, turning the game into 1-v-1 both attacking and defending, being brave in and out of possession; the second half for me is a Sunderland team.”

With Sunderland’s four strikers still without a goal this season, Dodds opted to play midfielder Jobe Bellingham up-front against West Brom and the teenager had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside in the first half.

“I had the privilege of coaching him from a very young age and I watched him playing as a striker pretty much up until the under-14s,” said Dodds, who worked with both Bellingham brothers at Birmingham.

“It wasn’t until he got a bit older that his position changed.

“I’m not saying he’s a number nine, just that he’s a player who has a knack of breaking into the box and who can naturally find space in the box.

“The reality is that for an 18-year-old, with a bit of luck he could have almost double figures to his name this season. We’ll see what Tuesday brings but as I’ve said before, the reality is I could play him anywhere on the pitch and he’d perform.”

West Brom have now lost two games on the bounce and boss Carlos Corberan was frustrated with his side’s display on Wearside.

He said: “We didn’t perform to the best level we have as a team. I know the quality of the players Sunderland have.

“After the mistake that led to the Sunderland goal that was disallowed, it created a lot of doubt in ourselves.

“From that moment, Sunderland attacked more and we defended more. We created problems for ourselves.”

Corberan handed Josh Maja his first start of the season but the former Sunderland striker was forced off injured in the first half.

Corberan said: “It’s unfair for him. He had eight weeks out of the team. In the last three weeks he’s come back and the first time I put him in the first XI, he gets another injury from a foul.”

Mike Dodds enjoyed a winning start as interim Sunderland boss after two second-half goals fired the Black Cats to a deserved 2-1 victory over West Brom.

Defender Dan Ballard broke the deadlock in the 69th minute before Dan Neil doubled Sunderland’s lead and looked to have wrapped up the points six minutes from time.

West Brom hit back through substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante in the 86th minute but Sunderland held out and brought a three-game winless run to an end as Dodds – who was put in caretaker charge after Tony Mowbray’s sacking on Monday – got off to the perfect start.

The victory lifted the Black Cats briefly back into the top six ahead of the 3pm kick-offs, while for Albion it was a second successive defeat after last week’s loss at home to leaders Leicester.

Sunderland made a confident start and would have been a goal up inside 15 minutes had Jobe Bellingham’s close-range rebound not been wrongly ruled out for onside.

Bellingham – starting up front for the Black Cats in the week his older brother Jude described him as a “thoroughbred striker” – was on hand to tap into an empty net after Alex Palmer could only parry Adil Aouchiche’s strike. The assistant’s flag was raised but replays showed the 18-year-old was clearly onside.

Undeterred, Sunderland remained on the front foot and had a strong penalty shout waved away when Patrick Roberts hit the deck after a weaving run from the right.

West Brom grew into the game and although they did not manage a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, they finished the first period on top, despite the frustration of losing striker Josh Maja.

Making his first return to Sunderland since leaving the Black Cats four years ago and his first start of the season for the Baggies, Maja’s afternoon was cut short after Ballard’s heavy tackle 10 minutes before the interval.

Sunderland were the better team in the early stages of the second half and came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock 12 minutes after the restart.

After good build-up play from Roberts on the right, Aouchiche’s strike from inside the box crashed back off the post before Jack Clarke’s rebound was superbly saved by Palmer.

Dodds turned to his bench, introducing Alex Pritchard in place of Aouchiche, and the change worked a treat. It was substitute Pritchard who swung in the 70th minute free-kick for Ballard to head home.

Pritchard was again involved in the second goal, setting Neil away, with the midfielder keeping his cool and lifting the ball over Palmer.

Albion responded and two substitutes combined as Thomas-Asante headed in Pipa’s cross from the left. Jeremy Sarmiento had a penalty claim waved away deep in stoppage time.

Sunderland have sacked head coach Tony Mowbray, the Sky Bet Championship club have announced.

Mowbray’s departure comes two days after his side’s 1-1 draw at Millwall that extended their poor recent run to one win from their last five games.

Sunderland, who have also parted company with Mowbray’s assistant Mark Venus, confirmed that coach Mike Dodds will take over pending the appointment of a new head coach, starting with Saturday’s clash with West Brom at the Stadium of Light.

Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman said: “All at SAFC have thoroughly enjoyed working with Tony and he is quite rightly held in high regard by our players and staff, and our supporters.

“After arriving at an uncertain time, he helped guide us to the Sky Bet Championship play-offs and played an important role in developing our team

“This was a difficult decision to make, but we remain loyal to our ambition and our strategy, and felt that now was the right moment to take this step.

“We are now focused on identifying the right candidate and we will continue to support our coaching team and players throughout the interim period.”

Mowbray replaced Alex Neil, who abruptly departed in August last year, and led the Black Cats into the play-offs, where they lost in the semi-finals to Luton.

Despite a bright start to the current campaign, his side appeared increasingly unsettled and have slipped out of the play-off places to ninth, three points adrift of the top six.

Manager Tony Mowbray felt Sunderland ‘dominated’ their 1-1 draw with Millwall despite relying on a late Jack Clarke penalty to rescue a point at The Den.

Kevin Nisbet gave Millwall a deserved lead after a superb delivery from Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy.

However, Clarke scored his 10th goal of the season with 12 minutes left to rescue a point for
the Black Cats, though Millwall’s Tom Bradshaw did have a goal disallowed for offside in the closing stages.

The result means Joe Edwards is still without a win at The Den since taking charge of The Lions while Sunderland are winless in three.

Mowbray said: “I thought we dominated the game, probably from start to finish apart from the last 10 minutes after we scored.

“You would expect us to be like The Alamo and go and get the winner but it was the other way really.

“We don’t look like we are going to score a goal and yet we can control the game. I think they had isolated breakaways, it is what they can do and it is ok.

“I think we dominated for long spells without looking like we were going to score.

“We don’t look like we are going to score a goal, why is that?

“I think it is because we have young attacking players, inexperienced attacking players who are not really ready to play for our team.

“And yet we have to play them and we are playing them and we are not suffering the results but we are trying to develop them and get them up to speed to be able to be a striker in the Championship.”

Jobe Bellingham, younger brother of Real Madrid star Jude, was an unused substitute.

Mowbray admitted he has a duty of care and does not want to overplay the 18-year-old.

The draw leaves Sunderland in ninth while Millwall are in 19th.

Edwards felt his side were always in the game despite enjoying far less possession.

He said: “I thought Sunderland started the game well and then we grew and after we got the first goal I felt there was a noticeable change in the team.

“We looked confident, the fans supported us well and it felt like we were building some nice momentum, although they pretty much dominated possession throughout the game.

“We always posed a threat and we looked confident in our defending.

“The way they use width and the wide players in their team, it causes everyone problems but I felt we dealt with it well.

“When you lead a game for so long and you don’t win it feels disappointing but I think you have to respect that they did have a lot of control of the game.

“In the second half, they mounted a lot of pressure as an away team so for me it is just areas where we can improve. I thought we did so well without the ball.

“We posed a threat on the break and in transition but I think we have just got to keep bridging that gap so we don’t have to play at our max like that just to take a point at home.”

Jack Clarke’s penalty denied Joe Edwards his first home win as Millwall manager and rescued a 1-1 draw for Sunderland at The Den.

Kevin Nisbet gave the hosts a deserved lead after an energetic first half in South London.

However, Clarke equalised from the penalty spot with 12 minutes left, much to the delight of the travelling Sunderland supporters behind the goal.

Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy had the first shot on target of the match but his tame effort was straight down the throat of Anthony Patterson in the Sunderland goal.

The home fans were calling for a red card after a crunching challenge from Mason Burstow but the forward escaped with a booking.

Millwall won a corner a minute later but Jake Cooper could not get any power behind his header and Patterson caught it with ease.

The Lions were growing into the game and with 10 minutes left of the first half, Norton-Cuffy whipped a superb ball across goal.

Zian Flemming could not get on the end of it but it was a sign of what was to come.

Ryan Leonard fired a sensational long-range effort just wide of the bottom-left post and George Saville forced Patterson into action as the hosts continued to push for the opener.

It finally came on the stroke of half-time when Nisbet tapped the ball past Patterson after another fantastic delivery from Norton-Cuffy.

Sunderland won a free-kick four minutes after half-time but they could not get a touch on Adil Aouchiche’s solid delivery.

The ball eventually fell to Abdoullah Ba but his strike went well wide of Millwall’s goal.

It could have been 2-0 in the 57th minute when confusion in the Sunderland defence set Norton-Cuffy free down the right wing but he scuffed his cut-back and the attack petered out.

The Black Cats had an excellent chance to equalise after a dangerous run from Clarke but Bradley Dack stabbed the ball wide from close range.

Patterson produced a phenomenal save moments later to deny Tom Bradshaw, whose curling effort seemed destined for the bottom-right corner.

Clarke had come alive down the left wing and just as the game seemed to be slipping away from Sunderland, he won a penalty before coolly converting it to get his side back on level terms.

Bradshaw could have restored Millwall’s lead after being put through on goal but another top-quality stop from Patterson kept the score at 1-1.

He finally found the back of the net at the third time of asking but the forward was judged to have been offside and both sides had to settle for a point.

Huddersfield manager Darren Moore hailed the improvements his side have made following the 2-1 win over Sunderland.

The Terriers took the lead at the Stadium of Light from a set-piece as Michal Helik nodded home, but the Black Cats levelled through captain Luke O’Nien, who fired home from a free-kick.

Delano Burgzorg found the winner with a tidy finish into the bottom corner to end a five-game winless run for Huddersfield, who moved six points clear of the Championship drop zone.

Moore said: “I thought we had a great chance in the first five minutes and credit to the keeper, (Anthony) Patterson, he pulled off a great save.

“But it gave us impetus that there would be areas to exploit and I thought when those areas came, from a small critique point of view, I thought we could have done better when those opportunities came.

“But it’s an improvement in terms of where we’ve been, where we’re at and where we need to continue going forward with it really.

“Credit to the players, the work off the ball was good, I thought we could have used it better and stayed on the ball longer in areas and not be so anxious to release the ball at times, but again, it’s a learning process for us and I’m pleased to get the three points most importantly.”

Moore also hailed a “tremendous” performance from goalkeeper Chris Maxwell, who made some critical saves to keep his side in it during the second half, including a great stop from Jobe Bellingham’s strike.

“I thought he was tremendous again, his focus, his concentration was excellent,” Moore added.

“The one midway through the second half with Bellingham was an exceptional save, I was stood right behind it and that was a one-on-one situation.

“So for him to come out and spread himself like that just when there was a small lapse in concentration in the defensive lines, he was there, really focused and pulled off a good save.”

Maxwell also denied Trai Hume’s effort that looked destined for the top corner before saving Alex Pritchard’s free-kick in a frustrating evening for Sunderland.

The Black Cats dropped to 11th and manager Tony Mowbray believes his side “lacked energy”.

He said: “We’re disappointed with the result, disappointed with the performance, lacked a bit of energy tonight, lacked a bit of creativity breaking down their defence.

“It’s not the first time we’ve faced a team who put a lot of men behind the ball and it’s not the first time we’ve struggled to break them down and score goals, so we just have to keep working.

“It’s a frustrating night for us, disappointed with the goals we lost of course, a set-play and a ridiculous goal the second goal.

“No excuses, congratulate them and say well done, they came and made life difficult for us and got the points.”

Delano Burgzorg’s winner helped Huddersfield beat Sunderland 2-1 to end a five-game winless run and move six points above the Championship relegation zone.

The visitors took the lead through Michal Helik’s header from a well-worked corner, but the Black Cats quickly levelled as Luke O’Nien fired home from a free-kick.

Visiting goalkeeper Chris Maxwell made some fine saves to keep the score level throughout the second half before Burgzorg bagged the winner in the 67th minute.

The result meant the Terriers moved clear of the bottom three, while Sunderland dropped into 11th.

Huddersfield had an early chance after a quick move down the right saw the ball crossed into Jaheim Headley, but Anthony Patterson made a great save one-on-one.

A slow start to the match saw Sunderland retain most of the ball, but the visitors threatened on the counter-attack and took opportunities when they could.

A neat pass split the home defence down the middle for Burgzorg to burst forward, but he fired into the side-netting.

Huddersfield took the lead in the 28th minute when the Black Cats were unable to clear their lines from a corner as Tom Lees headed the ball towards Helik, who nodded in at the near post.

Sunderland had an opportunity almost instantly from a free-kick just outside the box when Jack Clarke’s vicious effort forced Maxwell into an excellent dive to his left to push the ball away.

They soon found the equaliser in the 40th minute after Patrick Roberts’ free-kick reached Jenson Seelt in the box, who nodded to O’Nien at the near post for the captain to smash home from close range.

A quick start to the second half saw Sunderland nearly take the lead when Seelt blasted over the bar from Roberts’ cross.

Maxwell continued to keep his side in it, sticking a leg out to deny Jobe Bellingham one-on-one before making a superb save to paw away Trai Hume’s effort that looked destined for the top corner.

Despite Sunderland’s good chances, Huddersfield retook the lead in the 67th minute after the hosts failed to stop Headley’s mazy run which led to Burgzorg getting the ball on the edge of the box and slotting it into the bottom corner.

Maxwell was forced into a save from Alex Pritchard’s free-kick and the hosts struggled to break through the Huddersfield defence.

Sunderland continued to push in stoppage time as Maxwell made a great save from point-blank range from Clarke’s powerful shot and the rebound from Neil was cleared as the Terriers held on for three points.

Steven Schumacher praised his Plymouth side’s home form as they secured a 2-0 Championship win over Sunderland at Home Park.

First-half goals by attacking midfielders Morgan Whittaker and Finn Azaz set 19th-placed Argyle on their way to a fifth home win.

The Argyle boss said: “Our home form is so important to us. When we get it right here and play with the energy and tempo we do, then we are a match for anyone.

“Sunderland started the game incredibly well, incredibly fast and we had to dig in and stick together to get through that tough period. It was similar in the second half.

“Then when we had our chances, we were clinical with them.

“If we could have taken one of those breaks that we created in the second half it would have given everybody a bit more room to relax but it wasn’t meant to be and the clean sheet was excellent.

“Morgan is an incredibly talented player and we know that. We brought him here to create and score goals and that’s what he is doing. He loves playing here, he loves playing for us and we are really seeing the best of him.

“I think there were some really good, talented players out there today and Morgan has shown he is one of the best players in the Championship.

“I am pleased for everybody because the whole team have really put in a shift today, not only Morgan and Finn, who scored the goals, but I thought Luke Cundle was excellent and he had a hand in both of the goals.

“Now we need to put together back-to-back wins, and Tuesday’s game at Coventry gives us that opportunity.”

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray said: “We have to keep going, we work with the strikers every day, they (Plymouth) had two shots on target and scored both of them.

“We were pretty dominant during the game, we know they can score goals and they showed they can do that.

“We were a bit disappointed in the first half, we didn’t get to the intensity we wanted and we needed to score in the first 10 minutes of the first half. We didn’t make the keeper work enough, just not finding the space in the box to find the pass.

“Jack Clarke drove into the box about 30 times, but we were hitting the first man a few times and not finding the right player.

“We are a work in process, there are plenty of positives as well. They worked hard enough and we will not be harsh on them. We play five attacking players every game and we have scored 27 goals, I keep getting told a striker hasn’t scored in 16 games and yet we have scored 27 goals.

“The way forward is to keep going, put the ball in the box and keep working hard and hopefully it will come.

“For their second goal, the lad shouldn’t have been allowed to step inside. Credit to Plymouth, they fought really hard, they were well-organised, and have attacking players at the top end who showed they can score a goal. They have been doing that all season.”

Plymouth got back to winning ways with a surprise 2-0 home Championship victory over high-flying Sunderland.

Another top-class strike from Morgan Whittaker and a superbly-crafted goal from fellow playmaker Finn Azaz put Argyle 2-0 up at half-time.

Try as they might, Plymouth found it hard to get out of their half in the opening 20 minutes but the game was turned on its head by a superb Whittaker strike in the 24th minute as Argyle made the most of a counter attack.

Luke Cundle, who was pivotal in both goals, had sent the ball down the right channel for attacking midfielder Whittaker to run at the Sunderland defence.

The summer buy from Swansea cut inside and let fly with a thumping left-foot shot from outside the box that flew into the opposite top corner, giving Anthony Patterson – at full stretch in the Sunderland goal – little chance.

The Sunderland number one was again left clutching thin air when Argyle surged further ahead on another counter attack in the 40th minute.

Again central midfield ace Cundle was instrumental in the counter attack, this time sending Azaz down the left flank with a measured pass, enabling the attacking midfielder to cut into the penalty area and place a shot out of the reach of the diving Patterson.

The home side had two let-offs either side of half-time as Sunderland twice hit the woodwork.

After 44 minutes Jack Clarke cut in from the left and teed up Jobe Bellingham, whose first-time low strike came back off the woodwork.

In the 54th minute Sunderland again went close.

This time Clarke’s cross was met by Trai Hume, whose towering headed effort came back off a post, with home keeper Michael Cooper only able to watch.

Substitute Adil Aouchiche’s follow-up flew into the side netting.

Sunderland continued to press, with Patrick Roberts sending an angled shot from the right just over the bar after the hour.

Another Clarke cross, from the left, was headed just high and wide by substitute Abdoullah Ba.

On another counter Whittaker sent Bali Mumba away from the halfway line and the winger’s shot on the run flew just wide from the right side.

Sunderland hit straight back, with Clarke forcing a near-post save from Cooper after 76 minutes.

Fit-again striker Mustapha Bundu – on as a sub – should have put Argyle out of sight but fired over from close range after a superb run from Mumba and cutback from sub Adam Randell.

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