The text messages from Pete Sixsmith had me worried before the game started. He just seemed too cocky for a lifelong Sunderland supporter.
“Sat in great pub in Lichfield,” ran the first. “Ha’way the Lads.”
Then, just before kick-off at St Andrew’s, it was: “Fabulous following.”
The realism – in other words pessimism – you acquire as a red and white then made me seriously afraid that the next two texts would be 0-1, 0-2.
Instead, of course, Carlos Edwards put us ahead, in apparently scintillating fashion, after 26 minutes. At half time, Pete was positively humming, having seen Sunderland deservedly on top, plainly the better side.
I caught second half commentary and it seems we had chances to go two up before Birmingham came strongly into the game.
Gary Bennett, an excellent summariser for BBC Radio Newc**tle’s live coverage, detected signs of panic, corners needlessly given away, rising concern on Roy Keane’s face. The late, late equaliser came as little surprise.
With more than seven words to play with, Pete would have added that we played some sparkling football and scored a great goal, but a draw was ultimately fair.
One of the positives he mentioned in his Sixer’s Sevens verdict, however, has to be that we feel so disappointed not have collected three points.
Apart from the wins, with the season still in its early stages, against WBA and Derby, this was the very first time that we had performed on a level with – and come close to well-merited victory against – high flying opposition.
Both WBA and Derby are now doing well, above us in the league.
And they are also happen to be our next opponents. Keano knows what is needed: an absolute minimum of four points from the two games.