Any Derby game is special, but when you're fourth bottom in the league, have the added pressure of all three teams below you picking up points and a packed Stadium of Light, not to mention a new Head Coach to impress, you need to pull off something extra special.
And they did.
I wasn't surprised with the Sunderland team selection. I thought the new attacking system was a big improvement against West Ham and one point just wouldn't be good enough against Newcastle, they had to go for it.
I was amazed that Dick Advocaat revealed he hadn't seen Billy Jones play before selecting him for the game. I personally think Jones is a good right back, always steady on his game, someone that will give good consistent performances, as long as he can avoid injuries.
Sunderland dominated the game for 70 minutes, played well, created more chances and showed more passion than the Newcastle squad throughout. The players looked tired in the last 20 minutes, like they'd run out of legs, but they managed to be solid at the back and keep the clean sheet.
Newcastle on the other hand never looked like they were going to score, their team looked very weak compared to the start of the season and it was obvious they were missing key players. Do I think they're in trouble? I don't think so, I think three or four more points will see them safe.
Jermain Defoe's goal was something special. Players of his ability can win a game with one moment of perfection. He looked sharp, fit and he was one of the players that worked the hardest on that left wing for the majority of the time. The way he celebrated his goal showed how much it meant to him and he knew how much that goal meant for all of the Sunderland fans.
Speaking of the fans, they were fantastic as always, the way they celebrated was incredible. It wasn't a surprise to me, because I know what they are like, but it surprised a lot of people including Thierry Henry who was commentating on Sky Sports. He could not believe the way that Sunderland fans celebrated. It was as if they were winning a title, not just a local derby. It showed me that people just don't realise how much it means to people up here.
I remember my first derby at St. James Park, I had only been at Sunderland for a few months and couldn't believe the passion of the fans building up to the game and the hatred on the faces of the Newcastle fans as we got off the coach.
I was on the bench that day, we started the game very slow and were 1 - 0 down to a Gary Speed goal at half-time. I joined the game with around 20-25 minutes left but, luckily enough, we managed to scored two great goals, first one from Don Hutchinson and the second one was a great header from Big Niall Quinn.
We thought we had it in the bag, until five minutes before the end, we conceded a penalty. Alan Shearer stepped up but Tommy Sorensen made a fantastic save. It was probably one of the best ways to win a derby and, I can tell you, the team enjoyed that very much!
I think if Sunderland can keep the standard of the way they played on Sunday, they will be fine. Confidence is going to be high now and will grow even more if they can get something from their fixture against Crystal Palace this weekend.
It's another important game, but they have home advantage again, the fans will be behind them and as long as they get the basics right and concentrate for the full 90 minutes they can do it.
My prediction Sunderland 2 - Crystal Palace 1
Julio was talking to Lynsey Thompson.
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