Malcolm Dawson writes: With £10 tickets available via season card holders, a healthy crowd of over 41,515 turned up for this one. The majority, Pete Sixsmith included, were hopeful of a turnaround in fortunes and took their seats looking forward to an opportunity for the Lads to finally stamp their authority on a game there for the taking. Certainly the Villa fans I spoke to before the match expected to lose and had travelled up more in hope than expectation. An early goal ruled out for offside provided false optimism and it wasn’t long before normal service was resumed. Sixer takes up the story………….
Martin O’Neill, in his first managerial Musings after a Sunderland match, rightly applauds a second half showing full of endeavour, persistence and – finally – the goals to go with those qualities. It was his deployment of Steve Bruce’s players that eventually won the game, and we were fortunate with a couple of decisions, but let us not quarrel with what ended up being the right kind of start …
I thought the players were fantastic today, for this reason and this reason alone, we were a goal behind for most of the game and then suddenly, just as you might be thinking to yourself it’s the same old story, came the second-half performance.