Echo Jury: Fans were encouraged by Sunderland’s display

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IT must have been a case of wishful thinking, believing we’d manage a point at Chelsea, writes Gary Harrison.

Although after an impressive first half, with at least one break that excited as much as anything seen this season, confidence was up.

In some respects, Sunderland could look at their first half display and think they possibly shaded it, at least in terms of chances. But then, our opener was perhaps at the wrong time. It allowed Chelsea to regroup and attack from the start of the second period.

Their fortuitous equaliser winded Sunderland’s fragile spirit and there was only going to be one winner.

The opening exchanges showed a Sunderland team ready to close down and get in their faces from the off. However, that had subsided by the time Chelsea had mustered a second from an effort that was headed two foot wide of the post but for the deflection.

Our passes and possession early on would inspire for the coming relegation battle, looking sharper than in recent weeks – though it could be argued a more clinical side would have snapped up something from the loose bobbling balls that Sunderland spurned the chance to hit.

Despite the positives, the table looks ominous for us currently.

To read the rest of the Echo Jury, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.