Tony Gillan: Enjoy Sunderland’s victory, but let’s not forget there’s still one Hull of a battle ahead

Sunderland fans enjoy the precious victory over Bournemouth at the weekend which has been a long time coming.
Sunderland fans enjoy the precious victory over Bournemouth at the weekend which has been a long time coming.

It was wonderful to see Sunderland’s push for a European place back on track after a mildly discouraging start.

This week many of you will have watched Match of the Day for the first time since the previous Saturday victory, a matter of 182 days earlier.

You will have travelled to work on Monday morning by bus – open top – and feel rather better than you have done in weeks.

The injury list means that the fortnight’s break is propitiously timed and only 18 teams have more points now. Does life get any better?

Well of course it does. But enjoy what you can, while you can.

It would be a strange person who revised their opinions based on one victory.

No one is proclaiming a win over a moderate-at-best side like Bournemouth as any sort of adumbration of a glorious future. The imperfections were as obvious as ever.

Certain players still looked out of their depth or, as usual, lacking in concentration. The team selection was questionable.

Wahbi Kazri was mysteriously dropped, despite being the only player to beat an opponent in the previous game against Arsenal and with no obvious replacement. Saturday’s substitutions were questionable too.

In the aftermath of victory, most of this will be overlooked. But against better sides there will be worse consequences. It wasn’t entirely convincing.

However, we are still infrequently in a position of being able to give credit to Sunderland and so must do so now. They came from behind to win and achieved this with 10 men for the final third of the game; a show of character we had begun to suspect was beyond them.

Let us also dispense with the idea that the win was in any way fortunate. Bournemouth should probably have won the game long before Jermain Defoe blammed in his penalty, but they missed sitters.

Tough. That doesn’t make Moyes’ men “fortunate,” it merely makes Bournemouth wasteful. If they can’t beat a team from the bottom of the league with a man advantage then they clearly have their own troubles.

It should also be said that Jordan Pickford was magnificent; not lucky (and deservedly in the England squad again).

Should anyone wish to pursue the argument, the last piece of good fortune I saw in Dean Court was in September 2015 when Jeremain Lens had a perfectly good Sunderland goal disallowed by a dud linesman.

The next game is against Hull City at home (please attend, your voice is needed). Only the irredeemably daft would assume anything from that fixture, which is followed a week later by a horrible looking trip to Anfield.

Caution is advised before allowing ourselves even cautious optimism of the most cautiously applied type. Hull were themselves more than creditable against Southampton on Sunday. And should the next game yield three more points, even the most sanguine among us will still struggle to see light at the end of the tunnel.

But as a friend of mine recently phrased it, at least we’d be able to see the tunnel.