Sunderland fan blog: Tony Mowbray's side back on track after Middlesbrough win

Whether you classed this as a derby or just a local rivalry, what wasn’t up for debate is that this was a huge match for Sunderland.

After last week’s frustrating defeat to Swansea City in the Championship, a tasty prospect of a home game against Middlesbrough seemed a perfect opportunity to get back on track for Sunderland.

And, after 90 minutes of completely enthralling Sunday lunchtime action, this felt much more than a step back in the right direction.

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Against one of the league’s in-form sides, Mowbray’s side proved that they can more than hold their own: although the general consensus post-match was that this wasn’t a Middlesbrough side at their best, nevertheless, this was three points further up the table and one point off the play-offs for the Wearsiders.

Sunderland beat Middlesbrough.

For the large part of this contest, the hosts had to pull through without their captain, Corry Evans, who was forced off with only 11 minutes on the clock, but this nippy Sunday afternoon will be another one where this young side overcame another big hurdle.

Aji Alese, who was also forced off injured in the second half, came back into the fold and heavily impressed, while Edouard Michut proved a decisive character in the centre of the park and Amad Diallo and Patrick Roberts linked up with devastating effect.

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After last week’s disappointment, there’s no doubt that this was the perfect way to respond. This wasn’t the timid Sunderland that were on show against the Swans, this was the eye-catching side that proved just too much for Michael Carrick’s team.

From Carrick’s perspective, this was a match that turned upon two contentious calls – the penalty and red card decision – yet from a red-and-white perspective, this is the stroke of luck that they’ve been missing over recent weeks.

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The Black Cats have had some unpleasant memories of recent matches with Middlesbrough, but this time, the ‘Wear-Tees derby’ was one that firmly ended in Sunderland’s favour.

Again, this feels like another corner turned for Mowbray’s side, another step back in the right direction. Back on track, you may say.