SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Connolly hopes to build in first goal, Lawrence axed

Here's what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago today.

Sunday, 20th November 2016, 10:00 am


Connolly hopes to build in first goal

David Connolly hopes his strike for Sunderland will spark a goal rush.

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The former Wigan forward broke his duck for the Black Cats by netting his side’s nerve-settling third goal in a 3-1 triumph over Colchester United on Saturday.

Fellow striker Stephen Elliott netted the other two as Roy Keane’s front line finally came good.

Connolly, whose 90th-minute strike finally killed off Colchester’s late bid for a draw, said: “The goals have been shared through the side, which is a good thing.

“You don’t want to rely on one or two people to be getting the goals. But you definitely want your strikers in the goals and it was good for Sleeves (Elliott) and I to get the breaks today.

“Things haven’t quite fallen for me since I came to the club. There haven’t been any tap-ins – I’ve usually had to work to get my efforts on goal.

“That was the case on Saturday, but it was nice to see the ball go in and hopefully Sleeves and I can go on and get a few. I have had a lot of shots on goal and the keepers have been making saves. If I keep hitting the target I am sure the goals will keep coming.

Connolly had not found the net in his first eight Sunderland games since a £1.4million move from Wigan at the end of August.

His drive from just inside the penalty area finally allowed the Wearsiders to breathe easily after Colchester threatened a surprisingly late comeback following Elliott’s two goals either side of the break.

Victory lifted the Black Cats four places up the Championship to 15th, but they dropped back to 16th after yesterday’s results and they remain six points from the play-off places.

Connolly said: “We need to put a run of wins together. We have a couple of difficult away games on the bounce now at Wolves and QPR but you need to pick up points home and away to be challenging in this league.

“We have had a dew false dawns but QPR are an example of what can happen in the Championship. They were down near the bottom end but put a couple of wins together and, like us, they’re in touch with the play-offs. Three or four wins on the bounce can mean all the difference, but we’ve not done that so far.”


A training ground bust-up between Roy Keane and Liam Lawrence resulted in the right-winger’s double-quick departure to Stoke City on loan last week.

And, as the Echo suggested on Saturday, the spat suggests that the midfielder’s Sunderland career is now effectively over.

The 24-year-old, who played in Stoke’s 2-0 win at Hull City on Saturday, fell out with his manager when he was substitute during a practice match at the Academy of Light on Thursday. Lawrence swore at Keane as he left the field.

That led to the winger being called into a meeting with the manager in which the situation was discussed and negotiations immediately began to get the player out of the club.

Late on Friday, a deal was struck with Stoke and Lawrence agreed a loan move until the end of the year. The Echo understands that agreement has already been reached on the terms of a permanent deal which will be completed in the January transfer window.

Lawrence is the seventh Sunderland player currently on loan from the club.