Rowell Report: A ful-filling day out

Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
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IT looked the other week against Everton as if we had turned the corner, with the signs there that Sunderland’s attacking players were coming into some sort of form.

So I was delighted to see it continue into the Fulham game and for that good form to reap the rewards it deserved – especially as Craven Cottage can be such a tricky place to go to.

It wasn’t easy for us and the turning point was undoubtedly the sending off of Brede Hangeland on the half-hour.

It was just as well for Sunderland really because Fulham were looking good up to that point.

Even after the sending off we couldn’t completely dominate although we did do enough to win.

Fulham deserve credit for keeping the game alive, more than alive if we’re honest – Simon Mignolet had to make two good saves in one-on-one situations – but you knew the game had dramatically tilted Sunderland’s way once Fulham were reduced to 10 men.

Martin Jol said afterwards that anything that could go wrong did go wrong and I had some sympathy for the Fulham boss in that direction because as well as the sending off, his players seemed to be dropping like nine pins throughout the game!

After some pretty dour football this season it was great for Sunderland fans to see Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon scoring a couple of fantastic goals – Fletcher’s clinical and demonstrating excellent technique; Sessegnon’s one for the cameras.

But the goal that pleased me the most was actually the middle one of the three – the one scored by Carlos Cuellar.

It may not been as eye-catching as the other two, but it was a well-taken goal nevertheless and the great thing about it was that it came from such an unexpected source.

You expect your strikers to score – Fletcher and Sessegnon getting on the score-sheet was no surprise.

But when a centre-half weighs in with a goal it gives everyone in the side a boost.

Cuelllar’s goal would have been great for the strikers and great for the team because it helps take the pressure off the front-men and spreads confidence that goals can come from places other than the strikers.

It’s an area where we’ve been deficient this season and it is great to see us start putting it right.

Successful teams are always capable of getting goals from all over the pitch and that’s a weakness we’ve had for a while.

When someone like Cuellar pops up with a goal – his first for the club incidentally – you begin to feel it’s your day and that’s how it proved.

Sunderland got three goals, three points and three different goalscorers.

Not a bad day at the office!