What a start to the season!
Four wins in five, second in the league, new owners travelling to away games and interacting with the fans; you couldn’t ask for much more!
In our last two games against Gillingham and AFC Wimbledon, we have shown the courage and desire to come from behind to win on both occasions, which has rather excited the fans and proved to other teams in the league that Sunderland have the confidence to come from behind to pick up all three points.
Firstly, starting with Gillingham, the support from the fans was extraordinary, to send around 2,000 supporters on an estimated 600-mile round trip on a Wednesday night is exceptional - and only something a few teams in the country would be able to do.
On Wednesday night, my only negative was that Jon McLaughlin was found in no-man’s land a few times and it made supporters nervy, but in the end he made some great saves to keep the score-line down.
The goals were well crafted and there were some good finishes in amongst them, including the second goal from George Honeyman, which had far too much pace on it for the goalkeeper to stop from heading past him and into the top corner.
Another goal from Josh Maja put him top of the list on Wednesday, but he has since been overtaken by Jason Cummings of Peterborough, who scored two goals on Saturday against Plymouth Argyle. That being said, to score four goals in the opening five games is great and something we all hope that he can carry on for the rest of the season, although we have Charlie Wyke nearly back from the sidelines.
Then, on Saturday against Wimbledon, I think the decision a few minutes into the second half to bring on Dylan McGeouch was the game-changer for us. He calmed the play down, playing key attacking passes and not just aimless long balls, which were easily being cleared by Wimbledon and putting them on the attack.
I have to give credit to Lee Cattermole, who scored a rare two goals that turned out to be the two winning strikes. For the first goal, he didn’t give up on the ball and his reaction to his header being blocked by Nightingale was incredible; his quick reactions allowed him to poke the ball past the keeper, despite the appeals from the AFC Wimbledon players that he was offside.
Then, it was a superb cross by Chris Maguire, who put the ball on a plate at the back post for Cattermole, who was unmarked, and his volley flew past the Wimbledon goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
When we have all of our players on the sidelines back from injury, then, for me, we will have one of the best squads in the league with plenty of strength, depth, pace and creativity for Jack Ross to play with. Fingers crossed he can find the perfect fit to hopefully win promotion back to the Championship.
Our next match is against Oxford United at the Stadium of Light - a team who won their first game of the season on Saturday against Burton at the Kassam Stadium. They will be on the up and will want to win back-to-back games for the first time this season in order to lift themselves out of the relegation spots, but hopefully we can stop their momentum and win our fourth successive match.
Ha’way the Lads!