2013/14 Review: Sunderland Game Of The Season

Michael Regan

After the storm - reflection.

With the most bonkers season in memory finished, we're a bit knackered. We are not quite ready to put it to bed quite yet, though.

We asked our writers five questions about the campaign, and we'll publish the responses to one question a day through this week.

Today, we'll get the ball rolling by asking what was Sunderland's game of the season.

Michael Graham: Cardiff City 2-2 Sunderland

Okay, not a glamour fixture or even a win, but that late draw in South Wales was, as far as I'm concerned, a hugely pivotal moment of the season.

We'd beaten Everton two days earlier and other results were also just starting to turn in our favour. There was genuine momentum building for the first time all season. A win would have taken us out of the bottom three for the first time since Noah was thinking about building an ark, but a defeat would have probably produced a massive momentum shift in Cardiff's favour which may well have proven a bedrock for a very different campaign for them.

After 96 minutes of football, neither happened, but Sunderland's late comeback kept their momentum going and acted like a dagger in the heart to Cardiff. It was, I believe, a crucial day in the seasons of both sides.

Nick Holden: Manchester United 2-1 Sunderland (Sunderland win 2-1 on penalties)

We got to a Wembley final, and we did it in the most Sunderland way possible. After the latest of late goals from Phil Bardsley lead to utter pandemonium in the away end (and in my living room), we somehow managed to concede an even later goal from Javier Hernandez.

Leading to an unacceptably (and unexpectedly) racist tirade against Mexicans from myself, and a penalty shootout. The shootout turned out to be fantastically, gloriously farcical with all manner of nerve-shredding misses and shanked efforts. And at the end of it all, Vito Mannone was the deserved hero. There could have been no better way to reach a final.

Craig Clark: Wembley

What a day. What a weekend. Need I say more?

Gareth Barker: Chelsea 1 - 2 Sunderland

This is the one that made us believe. To go to Stamford Bridge and win when you're bottom of the league and break Mourinho's unbeaten home league record?

Phenomenal effort. It was a performance that defined the pragmatism often shown by Gus. A game plan executed to perfection.

Chris Weatherspoon: Manchester City 3-1 Sunderland.

A loss in a cup final should be a galling, demoralising thing. Even more so when your side was leading at the break. Yet, this wasn't. This was a party for a generation, and the match that ended it was a fitting showpiece.

Sunderland dared to dream for 45 minutes and Fabio Borini's opener will never be forgotten. That they were beaten by world-class contributions from world-class footballers made it all the more acceptable. A brilliant final.

Stephen Goldsmith: Sunderland 2-1 Newcastle United

Think I'll move away from the Wembley love in just to be different. The home win against Newcastle takes some beating. Year after year, they come down here and somehow manage to avoid defeat.

We went into this game rock bottom, without a win and on the verge of a good hiding - so it seemed! I'll remember the exact moment Borini's effort nestled in the top corner for the rest of my life.

Luke Bowley: Capital One Cup Final

I've only managed to make it to two matches this season. One was the goalless draw at home to Norwich. The other was Wembley. I'm going to plump for Wembley.

No surprises that Wembley gets the majority vote from the lads for this one. It was a great day - a great weekend actually - to be a Sunderland supporter. In the middle of a tough season, it provided a magic reminder of what a brilliant football club we can be when given half a chance! Can we have another cup final soon please? Pretty please?

Feel free to tell us your game of the season via Twitter (@RokerReport) or in the comments section below!

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