Echo Jury: Richard Smith reflects on yesterday’s victory over Stoke City

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I DON’T think anyone was expecting that! An outstanding performance from start to finish.

Bruce finally realised that the only way forward was to drop Cattermole and it was proven right – slick passing, no stupid tackles and players who could hold their position.

Vaughan, my man of the match, was outstanding in the middle – he ran the game. Every move we had went through him and he got the best out of Gardner, who I think has struggled a little bit up until yesterday.

Defensively, we were outstanding. Last season’s defeat at Stoke derailed our season and we certainly made up for it. Brown was immense again alongside Titus, and O’Shea showed why Sir Alex Ferguson played him so much during his time at Old Trafford. Even Richardson, who I have been critical of, looked assured at left-back. If he can keep this form up over the next few games then Bardsley will struggle to get back in the team.

What pleased me most was that we kept the ball so well in the second half. Over the years, I’ve watched us give sloppy goals away, but we never made any stupid errors and controlled the pace from start to finish.

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