This season may still be in its infancy but we are already seeing a wonderful new feature to Sunderland matches because, for the first time in years, we are coming from behind to win games.
This is often a factor associated with successful teams - hence why it hasn’t been related to Sunderland much in recent years, but it seems that times are changing, and I for one am thrilled.
Following the scores from this past weekend’s matches on my phone, I received the notification to say that the Lads had gone behind early on at Wimbledon. In past seasons, this would tend to lead to a collapse of sometimes epic proportions and I would react in the appropriate way - with several jars and a depressing lethargy consuming my weekend like some threatening cloud.
Before this season we just weren’t used to seeing our side drag themselves back into the game because it simply didn’t happen; however, it’s not even the end of August and we’re accustomed to it on a near weekly basis.
From our four wins, we’ve come from behind three times. If you want to take a closer look at this statistic, you can take even more heart from the two victories on the road last week as that shows a real mettle in this side. We’ve played against a couple of well-fancied teams, too, and have found a way to convincingly win - even in spite of going behind.
The smaller stadiums which we’ve recorded these wins in seem like a million miles away from the glitz and glamour of the huge, soulless arenas of the Premier League; but then again, we’ve never won 4-1 at Stamford Bridge or the Etihad, so in that sense Priestfields and Kingsmeadow are so much better. This is better than the Premier League - don’t let any other football fan tell you otherwise - and Sunderland are winning!
Sunderland AFC, our club, is at its strongest point in many years. The repeated ability to haul ourselves back into matches, take the lead and see a game out is so refreshing. The new crop of players is so far passing all the tests being asked of it.
It also displays just how much more stubborn we are under Jack Ross. A David Moyes or Simon Grayson side would, after conceding within the first ten minutes, probably have capitulated.
Nowadays, we seem to fall behind and say with a grin on our face ‘challenge accepted’.
It seems typical of Sunderland that we even it comes to winning we must do it the hard way. If you were to be critical it could be said we don’t want to make a habit of this. However, being able to critique the way we win matches is a nice position to be in, for we still aren’t used to winning a whole load of football games.
For the time being, we can just continue to enjoy winning matches, regardless of how we do it. It feels nice to walk away from a game with three points, and as of right now I won’t complain as to how we accomplish that goal.
Most of us acknowledge that we will have some bad days at the office this season. A repeat of the Wimbledon performance would, on another day, result in a convincing defeat. But, for this side to come from behind on more than one occasion and win already this season is special.
To win after playing poorly for 80 minutes is what will make us a frustrating side to play against. All I can say is, let’s keep on turning League One opposition into frustrated, defeated sides; it’s been great so far.