Chris Coleman took his struggling Sunderland side to Ashton Gate on Saturday afternoon looking to bounce back from two successive defeats. The Wearsiders have been poor all season and found themselves inside the relegation zone as they headed south to face Lee Johnson’s Bristol City. The Robins have been flying high so far this campaign and are in the mix for a top 6 finish and many expected them to condemn Sunderland to their 16th defeat of the season.
Things couldn’t have got off to a worse start for Coleman’s side as they found themselves 1-0 down after just 5 minutes. Aden Flint put them ahead and then two quick fire goals from striker Famara Diedhiou meant that The Robins were 3 goals to the good, heading into the break. The first half had been a disaster for Sunderland and you could only see the second half being a case of Bristol City piling on further misery for them in the second.
Remarkably though, even though they were devoid of confidence, Sunderland managed to rescue a point by drawing the game 3-3. Two own goals and an Aiden McGeady strike were enough rescue a vital point for the Wearsiders and they fully deserved it too. Even coming out after the break at 3-0 they asked questions of Bristol City, they fashioned chances and forced the issue. You could say they got their just rewards.
This could finally be the turning point for Chris Coleman and his players as they look to drag themselves out of the mire at the wrong end of the table. They do have the players at the club but at times they have lacked the passion, heart and desire to compete; however today they had that in abundance. Coleman has tried to bring in players he knows who will fight for the shirt and their teammates. Jake Clarke-Salter, Ashley Fletcher and Ovie Ejaria arrived and they’re younger players with a point to prove. These signings could be pivotal going forward.
The result at Bristol City is definitely something for Sunderland to build on as they prepare to face Dean Smith’s Brentford next in the league at the Stadium of Light. Being 3-0 down and coming back to level things at 3-3 proves the team still has fight and belief and also shows that they have the quality to collect points between now and the end of the season. Sunderland could quite easily have folded after the break or sat back in an attempt to prevent Bristol City from further widening their margin of victory. Many reputable betting sites like Unibet have Brentford as favourites, but at 13/5 Sunderland are a solid bet for a home win.
While the outcome at Bristol City was not a victory, it would have definitely felt like one. Plus the fans and Coleman himself will have seen that the players are still committed to the cause, even though they have lost five out of their last eight games. When you’re stuck at the wrong end of the table, you need fight and a desire to pick up points. Sunderland showed that against Bristol City and they need to do the same against Brentford on Saturday.