QUEENS PARK RANGERS 2 SUNDERLAND 3

Wes Brown (far left) watches as his header goes in for Sunderland's winner.
Wes Brown (far left) watches as his header goes in for Sunderland's winner.

MARTIN O’Neill’s first challenge to his players on taking over at Sunderland was to lift the club to a position where they had as many points as games played.

“The bare minimum,” he called it.

Last night they achieved it with victory over Queens Park Rangers in his third game in charge – though they left it heart-stoppingly late to do so.

For the new Sunderland boss, it was a satisfactory moment.

“We’ve won two out of the three games now and that’s encouraging,” he reflected in a brief press conference after last night’s win.

“I think the players are still getting to know me but I think that in the three games we’ve had so far, I can have no complaints about the spirit and attitude the players have shown.”

Wes Brown’s last-minute header earned the victory at Loftus Road – just when it looked like they had gifted QPR a point.

Sunderland were 2-0 up and in control courtesy of goals from Nicklas Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon when slack defending allowed QPR back into the game.

Read Graeme Anderson’s full match report, plus more reaction, in today’s Sportmail.