Rowell Report: What a win! ... now Sunderland must see this through

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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SUNDERLAND are still bottom of the Premier League table but for the second time in four days they gave themselves a lifeline and by doing so, have had a massive influence at both ends of the table.

To follow the draw with Manchester City by going to Stamford Bridge and beating Chelsea was an amazing achievement that even the most optimistic Sunderland fan would not have expected.

This Sunderland team just continues to surprise everybody.

When they are expected to win, it usually ends up with disappointment and frustration.

And when they are written off and given no chance, they produce performances like they did against Chelsea, which makes you wonder just how they are propping up the Premier League table.

Just like the game against City, Sunderland conceded the first goal but they refused to cave in and although we rode our luck at times, the spirit they showed to fight back and take the lead was uplifting and bodes well for the remaining four games of the season.

If there was a moment that stood out for me at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, it wouldn’t be Connor Wickham’s goal or Fabio Borini’s penalty, it would Seb Larsson’s desire to sprint back to his own six-yard box and just do enough to deny Ramires what otherwise would have been a certain goal.

That moment summed up Sunderland’s performance for me.

I actually thought Sunderland played better at the Etihad than they did at Stamford Bridge. But they learned from that experience and against Chelsea they weren’t going to be denied again.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho wasn’t happy with referee Mike Dean’s performance and yes, there were one or two controversial decisions that went our way, but one undeniable fact is that Ramires should have been shown a red card for his elbow in Larsson’s face.

And that would have left Chelsea down to 10 men for more than half the game.

The decision for the penalty could have gone either way but there was very little protest from the Chelsea defenders and that always tells a story.

Sunderland have been the victims of many bad refereeing decisions this season, so nobody should feel guilty if one or two decisions go our way for a change.

After four points from two of the most difficult away fixtures, Sunderland fans are dreaming again and maybe, just maybe, that miracle Gus Poyet was looking for can still be achieved.