We needed that win
It might seem an obvious thing to say, but yesterday’s victory was vital. Teams want to win every weekend, but Sunderland simply had to get three points on the board in order to maintain pressure at the top of the table.
Jack Ross’ side did the business and thankfully the top two lost comprehensively in their games meaning Sunderland are in a great position to besiege the automatic promotion places in the coming weeks.
More about Max Power’s dismissal shortly, but Jack Ross must be incredibly proud of his men after yesterday.
Two good goals, a penalty save, heroics from our central defenders, King Maguire giving it large, and Claude Catterlele bossing the midfield - Sunderland showed incredible character and spirit, and this could be a defining moment in our season.
TABLE: @SkyBetLeagueOne— Sky Bet League One (@SkyBetLeagueOne) October 6, 2018
@SunderlandAFC, @BarnsleyFC, @WFCOfficial
How is the table looking - or ? pic.twitter.com/iTt61ncHIy
Power’s petulance was incredibly annoying
Thankfully his fellow players helped him out, but Max Power’s stupidity almost cost us big time.
He’ll be gutted and rightly so, but you simply can’t lash out at people in the manner in which he did.
You can see the Bradford player catches him accidentally, but to lash out after just returning from a three-match league ban and after a fellow team-mate was sent off midweek is simply ludicrous.
Power is a very gifted player, but that’s 7 league games he will have missed through suspension alone!
Ha’way Max, have a word with yourself - we need you.
Sunderland now need someone to step up and fill Power’s vacant role. Dylan McGeouch is the obvious candidate, but Bali Mumba and Ethan Robson must be braying on Jack Ross’ door this week asking for a chance.
Power will return to the starting XI eventually, but there was no need for today’s dismissal. Absolutely daft.
Power's red card for those that missed it. pic.twitter.com/lL4RPQAkmW— Roker Report (@RokerReport) October 6, 2018
Our defence was incredible!
Jack Baldwin was simply mint throughout yesterday’s game, and Tom Flanagan was also immense - his tackle after the penalty save was a thing of absolute beauty.
McLaughlin’s second penalty save of the season deserves an immense amount of credit, and hopefully the defence moves forward from yesterday’s game with a new sense of belief and confidence - they were brilliant throughout.
Reece James didn’t put a foot wrong and Adam Matthews had a really solid game, too.
As we move forward it will be interesting to see if Ross puts faith in Saturday’s back four; they were brilliant in withstanding pressure from Bradford after we went down a man, and that might just be the making of a solid, settled defence.
It was almost a trial by fire at times, and Sunderland emerged with a crucial three points - have we overcome this season’s defensive frailties? Could this be a turning point in our season?
Another view of the penalty save. pic.twitter.com/nmXly2Wkai— Roker Report (@RokerReport) October 6, 2018
We need to keep the momentum going
So many players deserve a shout-out after yesterday, but thankfully the majority of them will have the next several games to show us again why they deserve to be in this Sunderland XI.
Ultimately, though, the Lads have to build on yesterday’s gritty victory and secure more wins in the coming weeks.
Victories like yesterday’s build character within a side, and it was brilliant seeing players sticking up for one-another and generally being absolute shithouses once we went down to ten men.
As the Lads move forward they will be able to look back on this scrappy victory and know the strength of character and performance required in order to find a way to win no matter the situation.
I can’t wait for our next game now - here’s hoping it’s a little more straightforward, though!