Gary Rowell: How many firsts can one team want from a single game?

Jack Rodwell
Jack Rodwell
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Sunderland’s sensational win over Crystal Palace is without doubt the result of the season, especially given it was a genuine six-pointer against a relegation rival.

I have no doubt it was set up by the goalless draw in the game before against Tottenham Hotspur, however.

Every Sunderland fan would have taken a point before kick off against Spurs and it was heartening to see how organised we were defensively and that clean sheet against a top team gave them the confidence and belief to do what they did at Selhurst Park.

The Palace game was always one we couldn’t afford to lose but to win – and by such a margin – was beyond even what I could have dreamed of.

A clean sheet away from home, four goals scored, the game over by half-time, Jack Rodwell picking up a win bonus and also a midfield player on the scoresheet – how many firsts can any team want from a single game?!

We also scored from a free-kick – again, something that doesn’t happen often but in tighter games than Saturday’s, set piece goals can make all the difference, so that was another good sign.

It is difficult to say whether Sunderland were that good or Palace were just incredibly bad, producing a performance I have seen Sunderland turn in far too many times at home.

The only negative thing on the day was yet again Sunderland picked up injuries, with Jack Rodwell, John O’Shea and Adnan Januzaj the latest casualties just when it seemed the injury list was easing.

The four goals we scored will grab the attention but I think David Moyes will be more happy with the second consecutive shut-out, with Lamine Kone and Jason Denayer immense at the back.

Sunderland won’t score four goals too often in a game for the rest of this season, if in any.

But we are now capable of keeping clean sheets and if we can get enough of them, then with Jermain Defoe at the other end always capable of nicking goals, I am sure we can grind out enough 1-0 wins that are often the key to survival.