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Reader’s Corner: “I love nowt more than a scruffy 1-0 win, me!”

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“Tuesday’s win and last weekend’s comeback shows that the players have a little bit of grit, a steeliness that will serve us well moving forward” writes RR reader Jack Shields.

Sunderland v Swindon Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

There’s nothing I love better than a scruffy, battling, tight 1-0 win personally.

Will it live long in the memory? No.

But, it was massive. At a time in the season where the result trumps everything, we just about scraped over the line. You have to feel that a few months or even weeks ago - that would have been another frustrating draw where we made little progress on the teams above us.

We started poorly, I felt. The possession we had was easy and plentiful but we did nothing with it. For every forward pass, there were four that went backwards, and we created barely any chances at all. You can argue about Swindon’s lack of intent, and their lack of desire to have more than one man in our half, but that was to be expected.

It’s down to us to force the issue and we didn’t make a good job out of it.

In the second half our play was slow and laboured again, and everything seemed to point towards the game ending as another momentum-stopping draw. Thankfully, Chris Maguire crossed the ball, Charlie Wyke headed it and that was that.

Other than a few jittery moments in injury time, when we panicked and they smacked the bar from long range, we saw it out.

Sunderland v Swindon Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The goal seemed massive, both at the time and for what it could mean for our season. You are rarely going to see us playing swashbuckling football and carving teams open and a lot of our matches are more than likely going to be tight and nervy as we head closer to the finish line. However on a night when Peterborough, Lincoln and Portsmouth all dropped points, it felt like we gave ourselves a fighting chance.

It’s also an old cliche but fairly accurate to say - if you can take points when you aren’t playing well, it’s the sign of a decent team.

From the last two performances few could argue we’ve played particularly well but there’s four points out of a possible six which could prove crucial. It also breeds momentum and confidence. There’s been a bad feeling about the club, in recent years, an aura that if it could possibly go wrong, it will. Winning and grinding out results will turn into a habit and in tough games the players will know exactly how to get over the line.

It will also tell you a lot about the character within the team.

We can all make judgments on the abilities of each player but it’s a lot more challenging to see the attitudes and mental strength of the team. At times we’ve had a weak under-belly this season but Tuesday’s win and last weekend’s comeback shows that the players have a little bit of grit, a steeliness that will serve us well moving forward.