5) Manchester United 0-1 Sunderland, 2014
This was the match which all but sealed our great escape, and after victories over Chelsea and Cardiff as well as a point at the Etihad we came into the game full of confidence.
This showed as Sunderland controlled the game throughout and were infront just half an hour into the game after Seb Larsson stroked home a Connor Wickham cross.
United rarely threatened in the first half and after the break we were unlucky not to add to the scorline. Jozy Altidore did well to cut the ball back to Emmanuelle Giacherini who’s effort struck the bar.
Then followed a breath-taking Sunderland move which nearly resulted in them making it 2-0. The visitors put together more than 15 successive passes before Borini was unfortunate to see his effort rebound back off the crossbar.
United has plenty of possession but the Black Cat’s held out to secure a vital win, sending the away end into ecstasy.
4) West Ham 0-2 Sunderland, 2001
I’ve read that sentence back to myself to myself five times now and it still doesn’t seem right. Sure, we are generally that poor that any defeat leaves the opponents feeling red faced, but “the win moves Sunderland into second place in the Premiership” - I think I need a lie down.
But that was exactly what happened in January 2001, under the watchful eye of then England manager Sven Goran Eriksson the lads secured a comfortable win in the capital.
Despite West ham having the better of the early stages, Stan Varga gave Sunderland the lead after 22 minutes with a looping header.
West Ham continued to press as Thomas Sorensen made a series of impressive saves to deny the hammers.
The home side were then made to pay midway through the second half when Don Hutchison caught out Shaka Hislop with a quickly taken free kick to double the visitors lead.
I was only a bairn when this game took place, so some might say it’s a bit ironic to include this game in a feature called “Micky remembers”, but an away win to put the lads second in the league cannot be left out of a list like this.
3) Newcastle 0-3 Sunderland, 2014
I could have quite easily included every victory at St James’ Park in my top five, but I didn’t want to make it all about Newcastle. Therefore, I had to eliminate one of the 0-3’s - the first 0-3 under Di Canio was magic, from the moment he slapped Pardew in the dugout ‘til the final whistle was simply glorious. It changed the tide in north east derbies and we have never looked back. But I look back on Gus Poyet’s 3-0 victory at the landfill slightly above that game.
We came into the game on the back of reaching the League Cup final at Wembley and an impressive January and we took the mick from start to finish.
Whilst the Di Canio victory had its hairy moments and periods of pressure from Newcastle, this game was pure domination from Sunderland. We should have taken the lead early on when Marcos Alonso headed over from close range, but it wouldn’t be long before the visitors took the lead.
Vurnon Anita's clumsy challenge on Phil Bardsley gave Sunderland the chance to take the lead from the spot, which Fabio Borini confidently took before jumping on the advertising hoardings in front of the Newcastle fans.
It was soon 2-0 when Jozy Altidore unleashed his inner Drogba with an immaculate flick which found Jack Colback and the lovely Geordie gentleman’s shot was saved by Krul before Johnson tapped in to double the lads advantage.
The lovely Geordie gentleman was again on hand with little over ten minutes to go to rifle home the third before shushing the baying Tyneside mob.
To cap off a marvellous afternoon, the massive lads fans up high in the away end taunted the Newcastle fans with songs of “cheesy chips on Wembley way” and “lock up your horses there’s gonna be hell” amongst assorted other Wembley references.
2) Chelsea 0-3 Sunderland, 2010
This result rather summed up Steve Bruce’s tenure as Sunderland manager - with him in charge we slipped seamlessly from the ridiculous to the sublime. Just weeks earlier he suffered his darkest day at the club as we were humiliated 5-1 at Newcastle. But on that Sunday afternoon in late Autumn the lads played Chelsea off the park in one of our best performances in living memory.
Sunderland were the better team from the off as Danny Welbeck nearly gave the visitors the lead with a downward header which was well saved by Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal. Throughout the half Welbeck continued to terrorise the Chelsea defence and was baring down on goal before Ivanovic brought him down - many felt he deserved to see red but the referee took a lenient view on the incident. For all the Wearside dominance, it looked as though we would go in level at the break, but then Nedum Onuha transformed into Lionel Messi to put his side in front.
After Chelsea thought they had cleared their lines, the full back picked the ball up in the Chelsea half before weaving through the blue’s backline and scuf….I mean delicately placed a shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The second half continued in a similar vein and it was soon 2-0 with a superb attacking move. Zenden started the move with a ball to Welbeck who found Henderson and the Sunderland born midfielder dissected the Chelsea backline before Gyan opened up his body and slotted home. We all know what happened next, as Bolo Zenden wrote himself in to SAFC folklore by doing his best impression of a pissed Uncle at a wedding, making Gyan look like a member of diversity in comparison.
Danny Welbeck capped off a man of the match performance by capitalising on a loose ball from Ashley Cole to give the lads an unassailable 3-0 lead. This victory put us 6th in the league on 19 points from 13 games. I’m off for a little cry.
1) Newcastle United 0-1 Sunderland, 2014
Christmas, a time of celebration, festivities and most importantly peace to all men.
Unless you lived in the north east of England in 2014 of course - yes, the wonders of the fixture list had thrown up a Tyne-Wear derby just four days before Christmas.
In the weeks leading up to the two big days, all I heard was my friends at University from outside the region cheerfully discussing the prospect of Christmas at home with their families and the excitement that brought.
Whenever these discussions occurred my stomach started churning, all I could picture was me and the family sat around the table desperately attempting to avoid all talk of a crushing defeat. The Turkey tasting even dryer than usual, the Lynx Africa gift set from a distant relative proving even more irritable and the combination of dad jokes and cracker jokes testing your patience yet more.
Anyway, thankfully the lads avoided this, despite the narrow margin of victory, we were in charge of this game from the off.
Connor Wickham nodded over an Adam Johnson cross from barely a yard out and an exquisite chip from Larsson found Fletcher who unfortunately volleyed against the bar.
The second half started with Steven Taylor hitting the post from close range, much to the delight of the travelling Sunderland fans.
Then midway through the second half, Sunderland missed perhaps the chance of the afternoon when Jordi Gomez was left unmarked in the penalty area, only for the Spaniard to slot wide of the post.
It looked like Sunderland were going to be made to pay for their missed chance when Pantilimon produced a wonder save with the game heading into stoppage time.
Then the unthinkable happened, Buckley headed away the corner and the ball broke to Adam Johnson who skipped past two Newcastle players who desperately tried to bring him down, before finding Fletcher, who crossed for Buckley. As the ball broke to Buckley the crowd held its breath as he squared it to Johnson who slammed the ball past Jak Alnwick to seal the game for Sunderland.
What followed was quite simply, scenes. The whole Sunderland bench leaped up and down hugging each other, Gus Poyet leading the celebrations stood arms open fist pumping with a look of total ecstatic bewilderment on his face.
Minutes later the full time whistle was blown and me and the visiting support were swaying to “Merry Christmas - War is over” as the PA system desperately tried to drown out the noise coming from the Sunderland support. If Carlsberg did Christmas.