Cats keep it clean as fans are rewarded for loyalty
Burton Albion 0 Sunderland 2
SUNDERLAND have won a game and suddenly for their supporters the world is a different place.
A 2-0 victory over Burton Albion which moved them two places up the table has changed the complexion of the season, and it has taken less than a week for new manager Chris Coleman to have the impact the club so badly needed.
Of course, there is a huge amount to do with the Black Cats still in the relegation zone but after the encouragement of Villa Park, it was important to turn positives into points. So what did we learn?
1. Sunderland have won a game
FOR the first time in 17 Championship matches, the Black Cats tasted victory.
It was a gritty rather than a beautiful away performance, played through driving sleet for a spell in the second half but given the question marks levelled against the commitment of some players this season, that almost made it better. There was no question the visitors deserved a win, which takes them above the drooping Brewers in the table.
Having been given plenty of time to pass innocuously in front of Aston Villa on Tuesday, the Black Cats were less tidy on the ball in Chris Coleman’s second game in charge. Goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter was far happier to get his foot behind the ball at Burton, and not always to great effect. That said, Sunderland had 55% possession and created far more chances than they had threatened to at Villa Park.
More so than most divisions, the Championship provides a real mixture of styles. As Coleman said before the game, it was about winning by hook or by crook, and they did. 2. The fans are right behind their team
A NEW ground for the club and in a brewery town at that, November 25 was always likely to be ringed on the calendar of many a Sunderland fan and there was no shortage of them in a stadium which does not even hold 5,000 supporters.
Playing in front of the Stadium of Light has been difficult at times this season but give these supporters a glimmer of encouragement and they will do all they can to give you the rest. The away supporters were by far the best part of Sunderland’s victory, really inspiring their team on as they banged away at the Burton door with the game scoreless.
News that Newcastle United were taking a thumping at St James’ Park only helped the mood on the terraces.
With one goal for the club going into the game, £500,000 centre-forward James Vaughan has not exactly wowed the fans this season but they were chanting his name loudly from the moment he dived full length to head his team in front. Coleman was serenaded too, giving them a wave as asked when victory approached but his last act was the real crowd-pleaser, pumping his fists and his chest as he went over to thank the away end.
Whoever was going to be Simon Grayson’s replacement had to inject the club with a bit of self-belief, and Coleman has already done that.