FOR the second time running in the Premier League, Sunderland scored three goals.
That takes some doing.
It suggests the team is going in the right direction and it’s more than handy for the club’s goal difference.
But there were also positives generally about all three goals.
The first one came from a Seb Larsson free-kick being handled in the box and it was good to see Seb taking more free-kicks.
It’s one of the best parts of his game and on Saturday not only did his free-kick earn the penalty but minutes earlier he’d put in a couple of great efforts from the left wing that either Alfred N’Diaye or John O’Shea could easily have scored from.
It’s great now that we have options when it comes to taking free-kicks because Seb is more about guile and stealth, that ability to get whip on the ball, while Craig Gardner is about sheer power.
On the subject of Craig Gardner, his goal from the penalty spot was his fifth of the season and on the quiet his tally is creeping up.
Considering he has played his football mainly at right-back this season, it is a more than healthy return.
Gardner was brought into the club because he’d made his name on scoring goals from midfield and it’s great to see him contributing more this season than he did last season, especially when you look at how many times he’s played in defence.
As for the other two goals, I thought they were great illustrations of Steven Fletcher’s class.
His first goal was all about focus, awareness and quick reactions but my favourite of the two, was his second one.
When I was a young striker I was always told that when you’re inside the box, it’s possible for you just to pass the ball into the goal – you don’t have to leather it every time.
And that’s what Fletcher’s second was all about.
When the ball came back out to him, he’d picked his spot and he just drove the ball at the space where he wanted to be.
You see opportunities like that missed all the time. Lesser strikers would probably have leaned back and blasted it wide. But he showed great composure to make an ice-cool finish look easy.
Read the full Rowell Report in tonight’s paper.