Sunderland's hard-earned victory could prove to be the turning point

Sunderland's first win since way back in August was the sort of away win that every manager loves, a victory built on hard work, defensive resilience and organisation resulting in a rare clean sheet.

Monday, 27th November 2017, 4:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:05 am
Sunderland players celebrate their crucial victory over Burton Albion.

Chris Coleman will be absolutely delighted that in just his second game he has achieved something Sunderland had failed to all season in stopping the opposition finding the net.

He will get just as much satisfaction from that as the three points, which were vital.

This was a game that at the very least Sunderland couldn’t afford to lose, so to come away with maximum points, I’m hoping will prove to be a turning point in the season and the start of better things to come at long last.

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For a long time the game at Burton had a goalless draw written all over it but Sunderland were able to go up a gear in the later stages and James Vaughan and George Honeyman’s late goals could be the most important we’ll score all season.

On Saturday there were no absurd goalkeeping or defensive errors, the midfield was competitive and the forwards worked hard.

It is simple really but if you get these basics right then you always have a chance.

The last time Sunderland were in this division, Roy Keane took the team from one end of the division to the other and while that can only be a dream, one thing Keane managed regularly - and Coleman did on Saturday - was score crucial late goals.

So often this season it has been the opposite, a case of Sunderland running out of steam towards the end so finding that extra gear and scoring not once but twice at the death was great to see.

When you have been starved of wins for what seems like forever, when one does come round you celebrate wildly as witnessed by the scenes at full time and I loved Coleman’s passion, getting involved with the supporters - that is a bond he must strengthen between club and fans that has been strained through constant failure.

So the Coleman era is up and running and after getting a first of the season with that clean sheet, who would bet against him getting what every Sunderland fan truly wants and aches for - a first home win this Saturday?

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While Lewis Grabban is thriving at Sunderland, playing well and scoring goals, the other side of the game reared its ugly head with the news that Duncan Watmore has suffered another serious knee injury that will again keep him out for the rest of the season.

My heart sank when I heard the news, mainly for Duncan himself but also the fans who were pinning their hopes on him being a massive figure in lifting Sunderland up the table.

To suffer one serious knee injury is a huge personal blow, to suffer a second just weeks after his comeback must be devastating for a young player with much to offer.

At the start of this season, I really thought when Watmore was 100 per cent fit again he would take this division by storm but bad luck has dogged him and all those months of rehab and recovery he is going to have to go through all over again and we can only wish him well for a full recovery this time.