A mate of mine who happens to be a massive lads fan was at University in Swansea and had offered me an overnight kip on his living room floor, an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was also mere days after my student loan had gone into my bank account and to be quite honest, what else are student loans for?! So, with a sense of illogical optimism our designated driver and I set off for South Wales.
Going into the game the lads were on an awful run of form - we had beaten Villa 3-1 the day after New Years Day, but prior to that we had lost five straight league matches.
The drive down went smoothly but after more than six hours of listening to radio 1, and my mates exaggerated tales of stag dos and tinder exploits (think of a slightly watered down Jay from the Inbetweeners) I was more than ready for a drink or three. Handily enough, the lad who went to Swansea Uni lived above an off license, so my thirst was soon quenched.
As we walked to the ground he turned to me and said, “right, I’m dragging my flat mates along and all I’ve done is big up how class our away support is, so we better be on it tonight!”
Thankfully, despite the fixture being moved at short notice, the 900 or so Sunderland fans were in good voice as the game kicked off and we soon had something to shout about.
Lukas Fabianski conceded possession from a goal kick and Sunderland took full advantage with Jermain Defoe poking home after Fabio Borini had a shot saved. Replays showed Defoe to be offside, but in keeping with the referee’s performance that night he allowed the goal to stand.
Swansea were soon level as they were awarded a penalty, after Andre Ayew took a fresh air swing and kicked the ground. But, the referee felt there contact from Wes Brown, and Gylfi Sigurdsson made no mistake from 12 yards.
The hosts were soon reduced to 10 men as Kyle Naughton went in late on Yann M’Vila who’s screams were audible from the away end. Just a minute later the lads fell behind thanks to a clinical finish from Ayew. As the ball hit the back of the net, someone behind me simply said, “proper Sunlun, that.”
In fairness, it was a very accurate summary, as Sunderland went in 2-1 down at the break. But, if our end to the first half was “proper Sunlun”, our second half display was anything but.
Just a few minutes after half time Patrick Van Aanholt broke into the penalty area and his shot took a slight deflection on its way into the back of the net.
With momentum and a numerical advantage, we continued in a positive frame and just after the hour mark the lads took the lead after Jermain Defoe made a clever run in behind the Swans back four and slid the ball into the bottom corner to send the travelling fans ecstatic.
That should have been it, but our hearts were in our mouths moments later as Mannone spilled the ball at the feet of Angel Rangel who forced the ball home. But thankfully, the officials made a rare correct decision and ruled the goal out for offside.
With five minutes to go Jermain Defoe completed his hat-trick after Patrick Van Aanholt once again got in behind the Swansea defence and squared for Defoe to make sure of the three points.
The victory made the night out in Swansea all the better, during which a Swansea fan clocked our accents and proceeded to have a detailed rant about Sam Allardyce, calling us “plastic Geordies.”
Towards the end of the evening 'Here Comes The Hotstepper' got an airing, which outed a number of massive lads fans keeping a low profile,resulting in pockets of Sunderland fans congregating in the middle of the dancefloor, jumping all over singing Jermain Defoe’s song.
The next day as we made our way home severely hungover we concluded that despite all the rubbish we witness on a regular basis, wins like that make it all worthwhile.