REACTION: Am I crazy or are things actually looking up for Sunderland?!

Unfortunately due to work, last night's win was the first league game I have actually been able to watch live, but boy it didn't disappoint. I wouldn't say we were particularly brilliant and there was a few loose balls and misplaced passes, but we still managed to comfortably beat Gillingham when we weren't even at our best and that's the most important thing.

by Molly_Burke Thursday, 23 August 2018 07:47 PM Comments

I went into the match quietly confident but also a little concerned as Gillingham hadn't been doing too badly - winning their first two league games as well as managing to take Championship side Millwall to penalties in their Carabao Cup tie last week - and they also, like us, had an in-form striker who had bagged a goal in each of the first three matches. 

That very striker, Tom Eaves, dented my hopes of a victory after giving Gillingham the lead only three minutes into the game. It almost felt like the possibility of an excellent season was too good to be true. Of course, that feeling only lasted around a minute, before Chris Maguire grabbed an equaliser. Imagine that happening last season. The opposition score within the first five minutes? This time last year we would have crumbled and Eaves would have been on a hat-trick within ten minutes - perhaps with a Lee Camp own goal sandwiched in the middle. But no, this Sunderland team has fight and they were straight back in it before the Gillingham fans could even stop celebrating. 

Everything went a bit crazy after that, but my we played some lovely football. To say we have struggled to string a couple of passes together for a good few years now, Jack Ross and this new-look squad do love their passing and they do it very well too. That front four of Maja, Gooch, Honeyman and Maguire is just delightful to watch; you would think they had been playing together for years. Add Max Power into the mix and you are pretty unstoppable. Speaking of Max Power, could he possibly be the best footballer in the world? I would say it's pretty close. 

Honeyman and Power's goals were both pretty great. Maja held the ball up superbly prior to Honeyman's and I remember cheering on the captain to have a shot, unsure whether he would attempt to pass it to Power instead. Would Honeyman have tried that last season? Probably not, but this is the sort of confidence he's been given this season - from the fans and from Jack Ross and the trust he's put in the 23-year-old. 

Two minutes later Power was attempting a shot from a similar distance and we were suddenly 3-1 up and those hopes of a victory were looking very promising once again. It's unbelievable how much love the midfielder is getting after only three appearances and there's no doubt he is going to progressively become a fan's favourite - that's if he isn't already.

I can't forget to mention Josh Maja. Four-in-four for a striker that had only scored one league goal before this season, and even ignoring the goals he has played exceptionally well. His hold up play is excellent and I swear his sprint speed has absolutely flown up over the summer.

Whilst the most exciting part of last night was those four goals we scored, we can't forget the mention Jack Baldwin. Despite the success of the likes of Power and Maguire, I have to say I think Baldwin has been my favourite signing. I know it's early days, but the former Peterborough man looks absolutely brilliant. I know Jack Ross thought it would be best to leave him on the bench for the first game of the season against Charlton, but since then he has been superb and, after years of terrible defenders, it is thrilling to see someone like Baldwin in our back four and it's a relief finally being able to trust your centre backs to do their job. In fact he doesn't even just do his job, he goes above and beyond to prevent any danger from the opposition attack. He will quite literally throw his body in front of anything and I absolutely love it. 

It's hard to believe that us - Sunderland Association Football Club - have scored seven goals in two games and have claimed 10 points from a possible twelve. That's not the Sunderland I'm used to, but I'm not complaining at all, I love everything about this club and the direction we are heading in. 


Sunderland, power, honeyman, maja, maguire, baldwin, gillingham