Nathan Broadhead's stunning strike earned Sunderland a precious three points against Cambridge United at a windswept Abbey Stadium.

The sides had to battle atrocious conditions as Storm Arwen battered brought strong wind and incessant rain across the country.

The conditions played a major part in Sunderland's opening goal inside the first quarter-hour, with Alex Pritchard's corner catching out the home side as the ball found the net via the post and keeper Dimitar Mitov.

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Sam Smith levelled for the Us before the half-hour, but Broadhead picked out the top corner from 25 yards out ten minutes before the break.

This win made it seven points from three games for Lee Johnson's side, who climbed one place to fifth in the League One table.

Johnson made two changes to the side that started the midweek draw at Shrewsbury, with Tom Flanagan and Leon Dajaku replacing Luke O'Nien and Aiden O'Brien.

Corry Evans had been due to start instead of Lynden Gooch to make it three changes, but he picked up an injury in the warm-up which meant Gooch was restored to the starting line-up.

With no O'Nien, Callum Doyle played at left-back.

Cambridge boss Mark Bonner made one change to the side that drew against Wigan on Tuesday with Wes Hoolahan coming in for Jensen Weir.

Storm Arwen brought strong winds, and made conditions difficult for both sides in the first half.

Sunderland had the wind at their backs and that gave them a huge advantage in the opening 45 minutes.

Broadhead should have made more of an early opportunity when he got into the box, but he tried to do too much and failed to get a shot away and when the ball eventually came out to Winchester on the edge of the area, he fired over.

But Sunderland took the lead on 15 minutes with a bizarre, wind-assisted goal.

Pritchard's inswinging corner from the left was caught by the wind, hit the far post and went in, with the aid of a touch off Mitov.

That lead did not last long, however, with Hoolahan and Smith linking up inside the Sunderland area on the right, and Smith's low shot found its way into the narrowest of gaps between Thorben Hoffman and the near post.

Ross Stewart brought a save out of Mitov with a long-range shot, and another Pritchard corner forced the keeper to punch clear from on his line when the wind threatened to catch him out again.

Sunderland went back in front on 36 minutes when some good build-up play between Bailey Wright and Gooch ended with the latter playing the ball infield to Broadhead, he spun away from his marker and hit an unstoppable left-foot shot from 25 yards that flew into the top left-hand corner.

The second half was virtually one-way traffic, with Cambridge exploiting the worsening conditions by pumping the ball forward and hoping the wind would do the rest.

A Hoolahan free-kick found Joe Ironside inside the box, but his header was pushed round the post by Hoffmann.

Cambridge won multiple corners in the second period and, just like for Sunderland in the first half, the wind turned each one into a missile and the Black Cats had to defend for their lives at every set piece.

Sunderland did create a couple of chances, with Stewart seeing one effort blocked and later losing his footing at the vital moment when he was released inside the area.

Broadhead also flashed a shot across the face of goal after being played in by Stewart.

Cambridge put Sunderland under pressure right to the end, but Sunderland showed terrific resilience to keep them at bay and ensure they took all three points.

How they lined up

Sunderland:Hoffmann, Gooch, Wright, Flanagan, Doyle, Winchester, Neil, Broadhead, Pritchard (Harris 79), Dajaku, Stewart. Subs not used: Patterson, Alves, Embleton, O'Brien, Dunne

Booked: Pritchard

Cambridge United: Mitov, Williams, Masterson, Iredale, Dunk, Smith, Hoolahan, May (Tracey 77), Digby, Brophy (Knibbs 77), Ironside. Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Okedina, Weir, Lankester, Worman

Referee: Robert Lewis (Shrewsbury)

Attendance: 7,974

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