JOEL Asoro scored his first ever senior goal to give Sunderland a much needed victory against relegation rivals Hull City.

The 18-year-old Swedish striker got on the end of a through-ball from George Honeyman and slotted the ball in off the post to give the Black Cats their first league win of 2018.

The victory takes Sunderland level on points with Hull, and they remain in the relegation zone of the Sky Bet Championship only on goal difference.

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Right from the outset, Sunderland were causing Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor problems. He had to punch away Bryan Oviedo’s free kick, and was tested down to his right by Josh Maja.

Billy Jones had the game’s first real chance, shooting wide from the edge of the area, but after causing the Hull midfield numerous problems during the first half-an-hour, he was substituted after a blow to the head, and was replaced by Adam Matthews.

Eventually the breakthrough came, as George Honeyman played the perfect through ball to Asoro, who calmly slotted the ball past McGregor and in off the post to put the Black Cats in front.

Maja had a half chance to double the home side’s lead, but he couldn’t control the long ball into the box and it was gathered by McGregor.

The visitors rarely threatened in the first half. On his return to the Stadium of Light, David Meyler’s 25-yard shot was easily gathered by Ruiter, and Jon Toral fired over from Seb Larsson, one of three ex-Black Cats in the Hull side returning to Wearside.

The start to the second half was equally promising for Sunderland. Oviedo’s free kick from 20-yards narrowly went over the cross bar, and then Honeyman muscled his way past Larsson and rolled the ball across the face of the goal.

Browning was booked for bringing down Fraizer Campbell, but Larsson’s free kick was wide of the target. Minutes later,  Evandro had his thunderous strike cleared off the line by Oviedo.

The visitors continued to press, and Campbell was presented with a great chance when Evandro pulled the ball back to him across the box, but he skied the ball over the crossbar from inside the six-yard-box.

Asoro had a penalty appeal turned down and was subsequently booked by referee Keith Stroud, and youngster Ethan Robson forced a good save from McGregor as the hosts pushed for a second.

Meyler had a chance late in injury time to rescue a point for Hull, but his close range shot was well saved by Ruiter, and the Black Cats held on for a crucial three points.

Sunderland (5-3-2): Ruiter, Jones (Matthews, 34), Oviedo, O'Shea, Browning, Clarke-Salter, Robson, Cattermole, Honeyman, Asoro, Maja (Gooch, 87).

Subs not used: Steele (gk), Love, Galloway, McGeady, McManaman.

Hull City (4-5-1): McGregor, Aina, Hector, Dawson, Tomoro, Evandro (Dicko, 78) , Meyler, Toral (Irvine, 68), Larsson, Campbell (Keane, 75), Bowen.

Subs (not used): Marshall (gk) , Henriksen, Mazuch, Clark.