Malcolm Dawson writes…..I left for the match with the firm opinion that there is too big a mountain to climb this time but that said I didn’t underestimate the importance of a win today. There really would be no going back if today’s game resulted in anything less than three points, whereas victory would leave a small spark of optimism that maybe – just maybe the Great Escape 4 might not be beyond the realms of possibility. But although we started brightly it didn’t take too long before the visitors seemed to be the more likely to steal the points. For all their endeavour, our boys just couldn’t seem to retain possession and consistently gave the ball away. Then a goal came from out of the blue as PVA tried to fire a low hard cross into the feet of Jermain Defoe and it was deflected past a helpless Guzan for an OG. Nice to know we aren’t the only team to do that. Despite the fact Borini’s failure to retain possession resulted in an equaliser it was to be our day. Big Sam is happy with the way things went and says so in his post match e-mail. And again our support was fantastic – our fans seem to thrive in the face of adversity. Today the team responded. Fingers crossed it won’t be the last time they do this season.
SUNDERLAND 3 ASTON VILLA 1
I’m relieved after that, it was a game we really needed to win and it was important that the players took responsibility.
There were occasions today where we didn’t play our best, but we did something we’ve not been able to do for a while – we got the first goal and that goes a long way in settling everybody down.
When Villa scored we stuck at it and didn’t let our heads drop, that’s not just the players, but the fans too . They got their reward at the end; seeing Jermain Defoe score two goals at the right time.
I thought we were solid at the back and we took chances when they fell to us and that’s critical. This is the first game we’ve won without a clean sheet, which is important to us, because we can’t always expect to win a game by keeping a clean sheet.
It’s a very important win for us; Villa are the only team beneath us and it was a massive six-pointer today.
I’ve seen us lose our nerve after conceding a goal but this time we played our way back into the game and we got our reward for that, and then Defoe was inches off getting a hat-trick!
We’ve done everything right today and got the most important thing, the win.
Thanks for your support