Sunderland have finally beaten a side managed by Joey Barton in L1 by beating Bristol Rovers 1-0 courtesy of Aiden O’Brien's first half goal. It’s grim that we have let this record against Barton stem out for so long but as we’re proving this season, our bogey sides are no longer fazing us.
This feels like a massive win looking ahead to two crucial games against Oxford United and Peterborough over the Easter weekend, Peterborough themselves thumped Accrington 7-0 to ensure that they remain deep in the title race.
It wasn’t vintage Sunderland but at this stage of the season it isn’t about trying to play perfect football and score a hatful of goals, we just need to grind wins and we are handling the pressure quite well which is not something I’m used to saying as a Sunderland fan.
So how does this win make the league table look? We are still third with two games in hand on Hull who dropped points by only drawing with Gillingham, though they were probably fortunate to get away with a point after Gillingham struck the post in the final seconds of the game.
We are now just three points from first place with two games in hand and now winning the title looks a surreal possibility for us. If somebody would have told me after the defeat at Shrewsbury that this would be our current situation, I would have laughed at them, but we just keep grinding out those important victories in games like this and it is very pleasing to not be looking at other teams’ results constantly.
Now though, we have a Good Friday fixture at home to Oxford to look forward to in a 3pm kick off, and if we can get the win that and avoid defeat at Peterborough then we put ourselves in with a great chance of winning the league this season.
But we can’t start celebrating yet, there is still a lot of hard work to be had between now and the end of the season, but Sunderland are definitely doing it for themselves under Lee Johnson, onto the next one!