That was, without doubt, the best Sunderland performance that I can remember... well, since probably the Quinn and Phillips days.
It’s easy to just see the scoreline and say “well Sunderland played well”, but we’ve played well lots of times this season - just not as well as that.
The football was slick and silky, we looked confident, and to see so many fresh faces come in and prove their worth was just brilliant. I am absolutely buzzing and so glad to have been a part of the crowd witnessing such a terrific display.
Cheltenham were dross but we won’t focus too much on that - we simply battered them into submission and played some of the best football that you’re ever likely to witness at any level of football this season.
Hats off to the players and the manager - that was terrific.
Rich Speight says...
Funny game, that - I started off worried that we had no natural left-footer on the pitch and that 4-4-2 would mean long ball football, instead of the beautiful following triangles cutting through the lines that have marked out play so far this season, but I needn’t have feared - their line was so high they just invited our two pacy forwards to run in behind time and again.
It was bizarre tactics from Cheltenham who just didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to adapt, but you get the impression that if they had dropped back to their 18-yard line we’d have picked our way through.
It was just our night, and a joy to watch - I just wish I could have been there in person.
In the end our quality shone through, with Nathan Broadhead at the forefront of a dominant display which will have other sides towards the bottom of League One fearing the worst when they arrive on Wearside in coming weeks. That dummy for the second, the pass for the third… two bits of quality the likes of which we have not seen for many many years at the Stadium of Light. I really hope he’s not too badly hurt as he’s going to be a very important player for us this season.
Michael Dunne says...
It’s been a while coming but it’s not wholly unexpected. Sunderland have been threatening this for a while. Lee Johnson has been saying it for the past few weeks.
The sheer volume of chances that the lads are creating at present was ultimately going to tell, and unfortunately, for Cheltenham, they were on the receiving end. It was a positive night all round, with so many players playing well.
And, it’s great to see Ross Stewart continuing to bang in the goals. He cannot be far away from a call up to the Scottish national team the way he is going.
Lee Johnson is fully aware that he has to try and keep his squad happy and he went some way to achieving this last night. With starts for Niall Huggins, Bailey Wright, Aiden O’Brien and Nathan Broadhead, Johnson showed our strength and depth, and confidence in these players to come in and do the business.
It was highly pleasing to see the likes O’Brien get his deserved chance, and he returned the favour with a hard working performance - and the highly-skilled Broadhead who showed what he can do. It is evident that he is chomping at the bit for a run in the team.
This can only bode well for the team going forward.
What a time to be a Sunderland fan. There is a strange but welcoming sense of calm and stability about the club which has not been witnessed for a prolonged period of time. There is a plan in place in the background, and a young, exciting manager with an equally young and exciting squad making us supporters proud.
Long may it continue!
I honestly don’t think we could have asked for more - a statement win, and with a long trip to Portsmouth coming up, it was great to be able to slow the pace down in the final 20 minutes.
To be able to make so many changes to the starting XI and still look so fluid is really encouraging, and those that missed out will know they have to keep their levels up in training if they want to get back in.
After playing so many of the top teams it was important that we didn’t take Cheltenham for granted, but perhaps the most pleasing aspect was our attackìng play - Lee Johnson had clearly given instructions to play it a bit more direct against Cheltenham, but we have the versatility within the sqaud to do that and so we got in behind them time and time again.
Some of the goals we have been scoring recently were just not possible with previous personnel, and whilst it is still early days, I have not been this enthused about our direction in a long while. Well done lads!
Gary Engel says...
The first half of football was a joy to behold. In fairness, if we’d have been 5 up at the break Cheltenham could have had no complaints. That is what Sunderland fans have envisaged us doing week-in, week-out against League One sides - certainly at home. But it is something we have failed to do, and a level we haven’t lived up to since falling into the division.
With a clean sheet and five well-taken goals (the fifth a beauty) it would be great to say everything came off, but not quite. How unlucky was Broadhead not to open his home account and Stewart should have bagged a hat-trick. Then again, play at that standard (now set) both strikers will probably leave the field with a match ball without putting in as much effort as they did tonight - credit to them. So, we were spared a nervy last ten minutes, a welcome change!
Oh, and finally, something else that made me smile was Max Power, at last, had a hand in sending Sunderland top of the table, scoring in his own net for Wigan.
Malc Dugdale says...
On seeing the team sheet, I was initially worried about the lack of people like Dan and Elliot in the middle. Where will our midfield creativity and prowess come from? Evans and O’Nien are good, but very different. Would we be stifled if we couldn’t get success out wide?
The answer was very loud and very clear. We don’t have a first team, we have a first squad, and we have a coaching team who are starting to show what they can do to grind out a win one day, and then put on a master class a few days later.
We don’t have one way of playing - we have about 5-6 at least. What we do depends on the offerings coming the other way, what we feel we should do, and how the tactics and plans pan out vary the end result. It’s not all about if our one decent wide man can find the head of our one decent attacker. Not any more.
How does it feel to be a Lads fan now? This may be League One, and yeah maybe we should have got out of this league way before now, and when we didn’t scrape out of the division with others at the helm, concern was high. Right now we have a long-term plan in its early echelons, and I can’t wait to be part of the future we can see coming up. Exciting times to be part of the red and white army. At last, we can smile again.