Sunderland fan blog: Tony Mowbray got this big call right against Reading

For many, this would have felt like a blast to a not-so-distant past.
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A time when, week-after-week, Sunderland were left to be frustrated at the standard of opposition that would come to the Stadium of Light, sit behind the ball, look to use their physical presence and fight for the point.

The Black Cats have had days like these many times over the past couple of years. At times, after struggling to break them down, fans would be left mulling over just that lack of something.

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Here, on what felt like a flashback Saturday, the Black Cats managed to overcome one of those oppositions, and fight for another hard-fought three points.

Sunderland beat Reading at the weekend and face QPR on Tuesday evening.Sunderland beat Reading at the weekend and face QPR on Tuesday evening.
Sunderland beat Reading at the weekend and face QPR on Tuesday evening.

Reading headed North with arguably only one real intent. Sit behind the ball, look to use the height of Andy Carroll and his partnership with Shane Long, and go from there.

And for much of the contest, it worked. Sunderland were leggy and just a touch off the tempo in the first half, but perhaps that was to be expected. After two mentally and physically challenging contests earlier in the week, this was not clinical Sunderland, but again, it proved to be an effective approach.

Tony Mowbray’s subs worked to a tee, while pushing his full-backs higher and giving his midfield a greater desire to roam further forward, Reading were pinned in, and after one diversion away from their gameplan, Baba Rahman gifted Patrick Roberts the perfect opportunity, and that was all he needed.

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And, so it means Mowbray’s men continue their quiet rise up the table. Seventh in the league having played a game less than Watford and Middlesbrough (both of whom sit in the top six) is an ideal position for the Wearsiders to be in, ahead of another Saturday-Tuesday schedule again.

QPR on Tuesday night will be tough. Bristol City next Saturday will, again, be tough, and Mowbray’s squad will be tested to the very limit, but on this throwback to their League One days, Sunderland didn’t buckle and produced what may be a valuable three points.

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