SUNDERLAND manager Chris Coleman instructed his players to soak up the feeling of victory after the team earned a first win in 17 matches thanks to late goals from James Vaughan and George Honeyman.

The first win of Coleman’s Black Cats reign was made even sweeter as Sunderland kept a clean sheet for the first time in the Championship this season. And the three points leapfrogged Coleman’s new club over Burton and Bolton and off the bottom of the table.

The victory was hard earned against a Burton Albion side that gave absolutely everything over 90 minutes. The hosts turned the match into a classic relegation dogfight, a feeling compounded by the atrocious second-half weather that even saw a brief flurry of snow fall on the pitch.

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Sunderland were second best for much of the opening half but grew into the game to overcome both Burton’s resistance and the conditions. Coleman was rewarded for his use of the bench as substitute Vaughan opened the scoring before fellow replacement Joel Asoro teed up the second goal for Honeyman.

Coleman said: “It was never going to be easy of course, conditions weren’t great but they are the same for both teams. In the position we’re in you don’t care where they come from, they’ve just got to come and they’ve got to come frequently and consistently.

“It’s a good start and I have told the players to enjoy it and milk it for 24 hours because we are used to walking out of a dressing room feeling depressed and feeling down because we haven't got what we wanted, hence my reaction with the supporters after the game.

“We’re almost having to gain their trust all over again and you do that by performing in games. Over the 90 minutes we created the better chances and I felt we were the one that looked as if we were going to go on and win it.

“Of course Burton had their moments, as any team does, but I felt we were the team that was going to pick up the three points.

“If we’re going to get out of trouble it is not just the 11 on the pitch it is the other guys as well. When they are called upon and come on you need them to make an impact, that’s what it is all about.

“The three that came on today were outstanding and if we are going to win this battle and get away from where we are it needs to come from all over. It needs to come from all over and being as professional as we can and staying fit and focused when they are not playing. When they are called upon they have to make an impact and the three boys certainly did that.”

Sunderland did not have things all their own way and it was the home side that dominated the first half with Sean Scannell a constant threat down the right flank. The Burton winger beat three men in one impressive run and it took a crucial intervention from John O’Shea to prevent him teeing up Marvin Sordell for the opening goal.

It was one of a number of chances the Brewers created but they rarely hit the target with Lucas Akins heading Matty Palmer’s corner over early on and Sordell seeing his best efforts go inches past the woodwork. Burton youngster Joe Sbarra registered their only shot on target with an effort that Robbin Ruiter comfortably dealt with.

At the other end Bryan Oviedo was causing problems whenever he managed to get forward. Burton centre-half Ben Turner turned his dangerous cross away and from the resulting corner the Sunderland left-back blasted the ball high and wide.

Centre-forward Lewis Grabban was also keeping the home defence busy and he was the first visiting player to test Stephen Bywater with a shot that the Burton keeper did well to get down to. Midfielder Paddy McNair also tested Bywater as he continued his good form since returning from injury.

After making it through the opening period unscathed Sunderland gradually took control of the match after the break and twice came close to taking the lead around the hour mark with both chances falling to Grabban.

Honeyman found the striker in the box but his first effort was blocked by the packed Burton defence. A minute later Oviedo picked him out again and only a brilliant, point blank save by Bywater denied the 29-year-old his 11th goal of the season.

Sunderland’s strength on the bench proved decisive as Coleman sent on Darron Gibson, Vaughan and Asoro to finally swing the game in the visitors’ favour.

Vaughan struck in the 84th minute beating Kyle McFadzean to the ball at the back post after Lee Cattermole had brilliantly flicked on Oviedo’s fizzing corner kick.

Four minutes later, Asoro rampaged down the right wing and his fierce cross was turned in by Honeyman who arrived like a train in the box to volley in from close range and spark wild celebrations in the away end of the Pirelli Stadium.