A League One record crowd saw Sunderland get back to winning ways beating Bradford City 1-0 on Boxing Day at the SOL. Over 46k fans saw Jack Ross’ side comfortably beat the Bantams thanks to a first half strike from Aiden McGeady although the lads really should have won by more although Sunderland still closed the gap on top to five points, with two games in hand.
Afterwards Jack Ross spoke about the main talking point, which was Bradford Jack Payne’s shot which seemed to go over the line. Ross said: “I would be disappointed if that was all we focused on from today’s game as I thought my team was good. I would also say that I haven’t seen it again yet but if it is over the line then it is a bit of fortune we needed to see out the result then I will take it. There has been a few occasions this season where I would argue we haven’t been on the right end of that bit of fortune. Naturally it will be a talking point but for me, there are large number of things that I would look at in the game other than that.”
However, Bradford City boss David Hopkin wasn’t so diplomatic: “Even with Jon’s body language, he is stuck in the net like a salmon, I could it see it was in. The decision is poor, the whole stadium could see it was in. Great credit to my players, before that we had a stonewall penalty too that we were denied, made one mistake in the first half and it cost us three points. The players were different class, we had a game plan, I think we conceded a soft goal but after that the noise levels were incredible in the stadium and we rode it out."
The Sunderland manager also, once again, praised our support: “The crowd was outstanding, I think that’s the only way to describe it. It was an incredible display of loyalty and commitment from a fanbase that has done it time after time this season anyway, but to come out in those numbers was incredible. I was just pleased that we produced a performance that was good for the most part and a result that sent them home happy. We carry a lot of expectations on our shoulders as a squad and there are a lot of things we have in our favour in this league but we also carry things which no other team carries, and that expectation was evident today. But by and large the players responded to that. I enjoyed watching us today. There have been games this season where we haven’t been great and we’ve dug out results. I know it wasn’t comfortable today in terms of the scoreline but for large parts of today’s game we were good, we were exciting to watch, and we created a lot of opportunities.”
Our crowd was, in fact the third-highest attendance in the country and only beaten by 74,523 who were at Old Trafford and the 53,318 at Anfield, who saw Liverpool destroy Newcastle 4-0. Ross said: “To only be bettered by two other home attendances in the country - especially on Boxing Day, when attendances are traditionally high - is outstanding. A lot of people at the club, not me or the players, deserve the credit for that for how they have managed to rebuild things in a short period of time. It’s only a starting point and we want to make sure that today is not a one-off. When I first came to the club, people told me that if we were doing well then we could fill this place. So to see those numbers at the midpoint of the season was incredible. You can tell sometimes in a football match if there are football tourists in the ground - there were no football tourists in that ground today. You could tell by the atmosphere and the noise. I’ve said before that I don’t think you really appreciate how big it is until you are in it. It’s genuinely a privilege to manage this club, and there aren’t many clubs in the country that could do that today in any league.”