Cats keep it clean as fans are re­warded for loy­alty

Bur­ton Al­bion 0 Sun­der­land 2

Sunday Sun - - Football - Stu­art Rayner Sports writer stu­[email protected]­i­tymir­

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.

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