Sunderland legend highlights key factor in Jordan Willis' header - and how many goals a season he should target

That huge roar that greeted the final whistle against Portsmouth said it all, as the fans knew there was so much more than just three points won on Saturday.

Monday, 19th August 2019, 6:00 pm
Jordan Willis powers home a header against Portsmouth, his first goal for Sunderland.

First of all there was more than a touch of relief as Pompey were throwing everything forward but also, it just feels like Sunderland’s season is finally up and running, belief is back and it is never disappointing to beat Portsmouth.

It wasn’t the perfect display by any means, the players again started slowly, looking very nervy and it was no surprise, as in the previous two league games, they conceded first.

However, the response was immediate.

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Sunderland actually scored with their only two efforts on target but both goals I thought were a bit special in their own way.

Jordan Willis’ header was magnificent - as good a headed goal as you could wish to see - and it was all about desire, he wanted it so much more than every other player in the 18-yard box, look at all the Pompey defenders in a heap around him when he scores.

After seeing that goal I’m surprised he’s only got a couple of goals with his head, he’s capable of at least half a dozen a season.

Sunderland’s winner might have been a simple finish from Chris Maguire but it was all about Aiden McGeady and that bit of magic you know that he will produce at least once or twice a game.

However, it wasn’t Sunderland’s goals that were the key moments to convince me Sunderland were going to win, it was a Portsmouth miss.

About halfway through the second half, John Marquis, a player so heavily linked with Sunderland, had a golden opportunity to level.

Just as he was about to shoot I thought ‘Here we go again, it always happens, the one that got away always comes back to haunt us’ but this time that didn’t happen.

Marquis got it horribly wrong, that’s when I thought it might just be our day and Sunderland, admittedly not without a scare or two, saw the game out.

Even at this early stage, the pressure was building up for Jack Ross and his team but Saturday’s win has eased a lot of that pressure and must boost the players’ confidence, knowing they have come out on top against a serious promotion rival while not being at their best.