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Clarke double eases Sunderland to win to extend Sheffield Wednesday’s woes

Sheffield Wednesday have now made the joint-worst start after nine games in Championship history after Sunderland beat them at Hillsborough on Friday night.

Dan Ballard’s header and two goals from Jack Clarke, one a penalty, put Sunderland in control before half-time. Wednesday are a club in disarray off the field, with their chairman Dejphon Chansiri releasing a statement earlier in the day stating he would be putting no additional money into the club.

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Xisco Muñoz made two changes to the Sheffield Wednesday team that lost 3-0 at Swansea, with George Byers and Callum Paterson brought into the starting XI.

Sunderland’s manager Tony Mowbray made just the one switch after the 1-0 defeat at home to Cardiff, with Patrick Roberts coming in for Abdoullah Ba.

The first two chances of the game brought goals for the away side. First, Ballard rose highest to meet Alex Pritchard’s corner after five minutes and just three minutes later Sunderland doubled their advantage when Clarke drove towards goal from the left and arrowed a strike into the bottom corner.

John Buckley shot from outside the box but his effort was tipped around the post by the Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson, then Anthony Musaba chanced his arm moments later but his curling attempt flew over the bar.

The third goal came in the 31st minute after Bambo Diaby brought down Mason Burstow in the box. Clarke stepped up to send Devis Vásquez the wrong way – it was the Championship top scorer’s second of the night and seventh of the season, six of them coming away from the Stadium of Light.

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Home fans who had not already headed for the exits chanted for both the manager and the chairman to leave the club.

In the second half, Pol Valentín made a mazy run down the right-hand side and his cross found Paterson, whose shot was saved by Patterson. Jobe Bellingham nearly made it four but his effort from distance went just wide.

Despite bringing on the forwards Ashley Fletcher and Djeidi Gassama in the closing stages, Sunderland comfortably dealt with the majority of Wednesday’s attacks for the remainder of the game, having done the damage in the first 30 minutes.

The result lifts the club up to fourth ahead of Saturday’s fixtures, while Wednesday remain bottom, with just two points from their opening nine games.