Sunderland Provide Some Festive Cheer

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30: Aiden McGeady of Sunderland celebrates after he scores the opening goal with a header during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Sunderland at City Ground on December 30, 2017 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)

This afternoon saw Sunderland provide some festive cheer for their fans. The Black Cats were looking to avenge the defeat they suffered earlier in the season when Nottingham Forest won 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. They visited Forest today and ran out one nil winners. In a year where there has been very little to shout about, Black Cats fans finally had reason to cheer as this result not only brought a much needed victory but it also took the club out of the Championship bottom three.

Sunderland Provide Some Festive Cheer

Changes made

After Tuesdays debacle at Sheffield United were not only did the side lose 3-0, they never looked like scoring or even threatened to leave with anything other than a defeat. Josh Maja, goal scoring hero against Fulham recently, made his first start ahead of James Vaughan. The other changes saw Donald Love come in for Brian Oviedo and Callum McManaman start ahead of Lynden Gooch. Ty Browning who had been ruled out just 24 hours prior to kick off, started the game in defence.

1st half

Sunderland began the early stages the better but without threatening the forest goal. As the game went on, Forest grew into the game and if anyone looked liked scoring it would be the home side. However, the home time, while having the better of the game were not threatening the Sunderland defence in a way that would ultimately lead to the opening goal.

Goal

With the Black Cats riding the small storm that Forest produced, the visitors punished the home side five minutes before halftime. An excellent cross from Adam Matthews on the left picked out Republic of Ireland international Aiden McGeady in the box. The winger beat the keeper with a header to put his side in front. The goal was against the run of play, but no one connect with Sunderland will care at this stage.

Halftime; Nottingham Forest 0 Sunderland 1

2nd half

Forest made one substitution at the break as they attempted to get back into the game as soon as possible. It was little surprise that Forest had the better of the opening stages of the second half; however, at these early stages, they rarely threatened to equalize. Sunderland appeared to be content to defend and attempt to counter attack where possible.

Substitutions

Youngster Josh Maja made way for the more experienced James Vaughan on 66 minutes. Maja had few chances to make an impression but the experience will have done him no harm. Callum McManaman, another who came into the starting eleven today, came off for USA international Lynden Gooch.

Sunderland defense staying strong

As the game wore, Forest were still looking to find a way past a Sunderland defense much improved since their 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United. However, Sunderland were still looking to extend their lead when the chance arose to get forward. At this stage if there was to be another goal, it could go to either team.

With game entering the latter stages, Sunderland manager Chris Coleman brought on defender Brian Oviedo. Goal scorer Aiden McGeady the player to be substituted. With eight minutes to go, Coleman looked happy to settle for the one goal victory. With the way Sunderland’s season has gone, no one could blame him. If the Black Cats could hold on this would be a massive victory for Coleman and his side.

Sunderland hold on

Nottingham Forest could find no way through the Sunderland defense as the Black Cats held on for a valuable three points. Even though Forest had more of the game, the Sunderland’s defense which has looked so vulnerable held on for a well deserved victory. Fans will be hopeful that this will breed confidence throughout the team as they look to move away from the relegation places and up the Championship table.

Home next

Sunderland take on Barnsley at the Stadium of Light on New Year’s Day. The Black Cats have had a dismal time at home in 2017, winning just once. There were plenty of positives today for Coleman, his side and their fans. However, no one can get carried away just yet. This victory must be built upon. Chris Coleman had stated he would like to bring in several players in January. If he and the team can build their confidence, then maybe Sunderland can pull away from the lower regions of the Championship table.

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