Sunderland drew 3-3 with Middlesbrough on Saturday, with Callum McManaman’s goal snatching a point for Chris Coleman’s men. The game had everything for the neutral – two red cards, six goals, some of which were well worked and late drama. But was that late goal a turning point in Sunderland’s season or just a flash in the pan?
The lads haven’t put back-to-back wins together all season, which is one of the main reasons Sunderland sit at the bottom of the table. However, Saturday seemed different. Whether it was the added spice of Boro being the team at the Stadium on the day – or whether our players have finally realised that this once great club can’t afford to drop down into the third tier of English football.
The atmosphere was reminiscent of old at certain points in the game and that response from the fans transferred onto the pitch at times. Yes, there was points in the game in which Sunderland looked like they have all season – but the never say die attitude that the team showed may just be something to keep our fans hopeful for our remaining 12 games.
And it must start on Saturday away to Millwall – a team who have been in very good form of late. Coleman must find a way to continue his players’ resurgence and I’m confident that if anyone will get this set of players up for the fight, it will be Coleman.
But what is to say that we won’t just be turned over again on Saturday and Middlesbrough will all be forgotten?
I take you back to Fabio Borini’s late equaliser against Crystal Palace, almost two years ago. We were in the bottom three of the Premier League that day and many fans assumed we were dead and buried. The Italians goal may have been the turning point we needed in the season in which we eventually stayed up. A lot of that day reminded me of Saturday – fans had left before the 90 minutes were up, the away fans were singing about Sunderland going down and even the celebrations from both Borini and McManaman were similar. We as Sunderland fans will certainly hope that the ending will be the same and the lads will avoid the drop.
At this point, with 12 games remaining, Sunderland are four points adrift of safety. Only those players can be the ones to keep the team in the league. If we win every game from now, we’ll avoid the drop. Yes, it sounds simple and it will be difficult. But the point is that we have to take each game at a time and if us fans continue to hang in there, mixed with the same fight from the players from Saturday, Sunderland football club has every chance of survival.