Ahead of kick off at The Hawthorns on Sunday, the build up on Sky Sports was dominated by talk of how good West Brom have been at home and how their aerial dominance would be too much for our makeshift defence.
There was a clear plan that the pundits seemed to think the match would follow but unfortunately for them, nobody seemed to tell our players about it.
After being the better team during the first half, it was tough to go in at the break at 1-0 down via a penalty which simply wasn’t a penalty. Other teams may have wilted at that stage, particularly if they had the same injury problems as we do, but they aren’t Sunderland.
Our patched up backline had to soak up a lot of pressure at the start of the second half and grabbing the goal when we did was a slap in the face for the Baggies.
They kept trying to find a second goal but if anything summed up the determination of this squad, it was the twenty to thirty second spell in the period following our equaliser.
Red and white-clad bodies threw themselves at the ball to prevent our hard fought efforts from going to waste, and each effort directed towards goal from a West Brom player was charged down well before it came close to troubling Anthony Patterson.
The determination to stop the hosts from retaking the lead was clear to see and the fighting qualities of our defensive unit were rewarded thanks to another trademark Sunderland goal.
Sixteen passes resulted in Dennis Cirkin finishing off a move to put us up to sixth in the league, and we did so in very satisfying fashion.
The Hawthorns is a tough place to go, and no team has left this corner of the West Midlands with all three points since October.
However, despite the seemingly daunting task ahead of us coupled with our own particularly poor record at West Brom, we were superb to a man.
For all of the hype about their home record and height advantage, we played with the kind of courage and bravery which has turned a fifth placed League One side into a club that’s now striving for the top six of the Championship.
The emotional connection and togetherness of this squad is like nothing we’ve seen for a very long time. Each player works their socks off for their teammates, and we’re reaping the rewards.
We’re in the playoff places with two games left to play and if the midweek fixtures go our way, we could be still in the top six by the time we kick off against Watford.
To even be in the playoff picture at this stage of the season is superb and to be on the right side of that dotted line with two games left is a testament to our team spirit and the way these players are fighting for our club.