Sunderland travelled to the Pirelli Stadium where Chris Coleman would take charge of the Wearsiders for the second time, after his 2-1 loss at Villa Park midweek.
Pub and first impressions of the ground
I got off the train in Burton and headed to the Beech Inn. It was easy enough to get drinks, as there was an outside bar with a TV showing Barnsley v Leeds. Some tents were there to keep the rain off, as well as a burger van that was surprisingly decent. Unfortunately, for the people who didn’t want to stand in the East Midlands wind and rain, they couldn’t get into the pub as the bouncers said it was too busy.
Not only this, the gents toilets weren’t exactly thought through either. people were left to relieve themselves in what could only be described as a green, plastic container in the rain.
I headed off to the stadium, which could’ve quite easily have been missed, to a massive queue which was dealt with quite efficiently. In the ground pints and pies were reasonably priced, for a football ground, but I passed on the pie. However, the bar area was near impossible to get into as it was absolutely tiny and also closed at 2:30!
With the Pirelli Stadium being recently built in 2005, I was surprised when three of the four stands were standing with only the main stand seated. This meant that just 2100 of the 7000 capacity was seating.
I took my place in the standing section which quickly filled up. The first half was near enough uneventful, apart from a couple of half chances for either side; Aiden McGeady for Sunderland and Marvin Sordell for Burton, the latter shaving the post of Black Cats’ goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter.
The second period was more eventful, with Coleman’s men playing some decent looking football, this was finally rewarded by a goal.
James Vaughan dove in and headed home from close range, Bryan Oviedo’s corner was flicked on by Lee Cattermole at the near post and then nodded in by Vaughan, grabbing only his second goal for the Mackems.
The points were definitely in the bag after academy product George Honeyman finished off a great piece of counter attacking play. Joel Asoro beat his man on the right before smashing it across the six yard area for Honeyman to tap in, sending the 1700 away supporters into raptures. During the goal celebrations, the bloke behind me elbowed me in the head, but I couldn’t care less - it was a moment we’d all been waiting for and something that the fans deserved.
At the end of the game, the away supporters were at maximum volume as manager Chris Coleman celebrated with the fans; passion that we have been crying out for.
Post match thoughts
Overall, a better performance for the new manager who picks up Sunderland’s second win of the season, both of which have been away from home. Cattermole was a lot better than he was last week but still needs a significant improvement in his game to be up to a decent standard. Darron Gibson came off the bench and actually played well; the game changer was when McGeady was subbed off, and then again when McManaman was taken off for Vaughan and Asoro respectively.
After the match, the toilets inside the ground weren’t exactly up to scratch, and certainly weren’t designed for large away crowds; only enough room to accommodate 15 people, led to the floor being covered in a puddle of that stuff. It was about a 25 minute walk from the ground to the town centre; where there was a Wetherspoon’s called the Lord Burton near the train station. There was our stop continue the celebrations.
A much needed win sent the travelling fans home happy, for a change! With Reading at home next week, Coleman needs a home win to stop the rot at the Stadium of Light. The next away trip is again in the Midlands, at Wolves on December 9th, the start of a busy, yet crucial festive schedule.
Contact or follow me on Twitter @ethan_thoburn.