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Top Ten: Our Favourite Sunderland Goals From Freekicks

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The relief was palpable as Bruce and the players finally notched up the first win of the season on Sunday afternoon and relieved some of the pressure that may have been beginning to mount on the gaffer. Personally I attribute the stuttering start to the mass, yet necessary, upheaval over the Summer months and on Sunday it finally looked as if the gaffer knew his strongest eleven and the team seemed to be beginning to gel in all areas of the pitch. One, of the many, positives from the day was the number of chances that our midfield managed to create and the deadfall specialist Larsson who was a constant thorn in Stoke’s side.

So as the Swede was rightfully rewarded for his efforts on the day with a goal direct from a free kick it got me thinking how good it is as a fan to see a free kick sail over the wall and into the back of the net, especially as a SAFC fan given how inept we have been from such positions for what feels like an eternity. So in turn I thought to myself what better way to celebrate Seb's strike than with a look back at my Top Ten SAFC goals direct from a free kick.

So lets get started!

10. Ross Wallace vs Southampton 2006

Whilst the hosts huffed and puffed for long spells of the game at the Stadium of Light they had to be content with a point following a last gasp equaliser from some unknown lad by the name of Gareth Bale, wonder what he’s upto these days. Anyway, Sunderland finally broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute when Rudolf Skacel fouled Graham Kavanagh just outside of the Southampton penalty area. Ross must have thought Christmas had come early as he dispatched his set piece over the wall and curling away from a despairing Kelvin Davies into the inside of his left post.

9. Martin Scott vs Chester 1998

In the second round of the Worthington Cup Martin Scott proved that his left peg was just as deadly from 25 yards out as it was from 12 as the reliable penalty kick taker stepped up to rifle a free kick home in the cup clash. Poignantly it was Scott’s first goal for over two years as the full back made a strong claim for his left back berth having recovered from an injury ravaged two seasons. The goal itself came after thirty minutes when Alex Rae was felled by Chris Priest and Scott, the captain for the night, stepped up and slammed the ball past the wall and into the net. Welcome back Scotty!

8. Claudio Reyna vs Leicester 2002

Claudio Reyna was a record transfer for Sunderland at the time costing the club a mammoth £4.5m but the USA International went some way to repaying his fee with a brace at home to Leicester which sealed an important three points for the SAFC in their bid to avoid relegation. Reyna helped calm the nerves with an early goal after just three minutes and then gave Sunderland the lead, after Paul Dickov had equalised for Leicester, with a sweetly struck free kick which gave Ian Walker no chance in the Foxes’ goal.

I found this rather yank-tastic tribute video for Claudio, so enjoy the American's doing what the American's do best with this piece:

7. Dean Whitehead vs Spurs 2005

Mick McCarthy’s Sunderland were on a seemingly unstoppable slide towards relegation and an away day with Spurs, who were chasing a European spot, was not to be the game that we stopped the rot. The game itself was a thrilling encounter which we were unlucky to come away from empty handed going down 3-2. The away side actually got off to a flying start and were rewarded for their efforts with a stunning goal courtesy of Dean Whitehead in the 16th minute.

6. Julio Arca vs Middlesbrough 2005

The invisible man Tommy Miller had given the visitors the lead inside 90 seconds before Arca sealed the points for Sunderland. The game itself was a huge win for Mick McCarthy, in fact it was Sunderland’s first Premier League win in 22 games. The Argentineans goal was tinged with a touch of controversy as Howard Webb over-ruled his linesman who had flagged for offside against Andy Gray, instead awarding a free kick for a foul on Liam Miller. The little wing back placed the ball down before dispatching a lovely curling effort over the wall and into the net.

As the youtube description states: "Mint free kick"

5. Don Hutchison vs West Ham 2001

In a game of little incident, either controversial or exciting it was left to the Scottish midfielder to serve up a moment of quick thinking which sealed the three points for the visiting side. Media darling-to-be Frank Lampard was adjudged to have fouled Gavin McCann around 25 yards out and whilst the West Ham defence and substitute goalkeeper Craig Forrest were trying to meticulously position their wall Hutchison caught them all off guard with an early free kick. A great example of the vision and creativity the midfielder had on the pitch.

So I couldn't find a video of Hutchison's cheeky effort but I thought everyone deserves to see his flat cap in this video, just so the next time you run into the midfielder you can give him some stick he truly deserves! what was he thinking?

4. Sean Thornton vs Rotherham 2005

Whilst Sunderland were advancing towards automatic promotion Rotherham were staring relegation squarely in the face. The gulf in class between the two sides was made evident by the 4-1 win for the Black Cats and two, yes TWO, stunning free kick’s from Sean Thornton. The midfielder’s first came with his very first touch after replacing an injured Julio Arca as Thornton sweetly struck his dead ball into the top right corner from fully thirty yards in the first half. The second half saw Sean recreate his earlier strike as another excellent free kick sailed past Mike Pollitt, who had a dismal game, again from thirty yards out. Whilst Thornton entertained and frustrated in equal measure during his time on Wearside his two superb free kicks that day showcased what he was capable of on his day.

3. Andy Reid vs West Ham 2009

Ten man Sunderland claimed a hard-earned point in a chaotic clash with West Ham, coming back from two goals down courtesy of some magic from the rotund winger. The Irish midfielder was still hopeful of playing his way back into Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and did his chances no harm with a peach of a free kick which kick started Sunderland’s fightback. The goal itself came just before half time as Steed Malbranque bought a freekick from a non-existant foul from a furious Radoslav Kovac who earned a yellow for his protests. Despite its dubious award Sunderland took full advantage as Reid managed to get the ball up and over the wall from the edge of the area, curling his effort home.

"Hit it you fat c*** for f**** sake" exclaims the West Ham fan in this video... Reid duly obliged.

2. Chris Waddle vs Everton 1997

The last ever league game at Roker Park before the old place was torn to the ground will always have a special place in all Sunderland fans’ hearts who were in attendance. The 1996/97 term was the first full season I had attended as a youngster and even I was sad to leave the place. As if the game didn’t have enough significance already Sunderland found themselves in a relegation dogfight and nothing less than three points would have done that day. Leading 1-0 at half-time Sunderland continued to press the away side looking for the illusive second goal, which dutifully came when big Neville Southall for some reason stepped out of his box with the ball during a routine kick from his hands. SAFC’s marquee signing Chris Waddle carefully positioned the ball before unleashing a thunderbolt into the top corner and sending 22,000 home fans crazy a fitting goal for a game of such importance.

1. Kieran Richardson vs Newcastle 2008

Well, it had to be didn’t it? I’ll make no excuses for making Kieran’s superb goal my number one! It had everything, the setting, the time in the game and the quality of the set piece itself. After El-Hadji Diouf was felled by Nicky Butt just outside the box following a neat interchange with Steed Malbranque Keiran took custody of the ball and waited for the jostling in Newcastle’s defensive wall to settle. Rather than a picture perfect dink over the wall, or a beautifully curling effort like we have seen throughout this list, Richardson’s freekick required less subtlety and more power and he duly obliged with a ferocious strike that almost tore the netting from the posts.

Did I miss anything? Let us know your favourite SAFC free kick in the comments below and vote for your choice in the poll.

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