It could all have been so much different. After three minutes and then again after fifteen, Simon Mignolet won this game for Sunderland. He did what he is paid to do but these early, crucial saves meant that Stephen Fletcher’s fifth goal in four games got the Lads their first league win of the season. Whether McClean’s cross was intentional or whether it was meant as an attempt on goal only he knows for sure, but there was no doubt about the clinical way the chance was put away.
Martin O’Neill delivers his post-match e-mail after today’s first League victory of the season.
I’m delighted with that win.
After [Steven] Fletcher scored I thought we might have been able to press on and get another goal but as time was getting on, it started getting a bit more edgy and the crowd were worrying about holding onto the win.
We hung on and got the win and that was so important for us today.
The first half was end-to-end stuff, but in the second, after we got the goal, I think it became a little bit more unsettled.
We remain unbeaten but we had to fight for it and I think we can now improve on that and we’ll get confidence from that win.
Winning is so important and getting those three points on the board means a lot, especially after the disappointment of conceding a goal so late last week.
Fletcher did brilliantly today.
His all-round play was magnificent and the way he brought people into the game.
At the other end [Simon] Mignolet made two unbelievable saves at a really important point in the match.
All the best,