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Cult Heroes: Derby Day Legends

Many a player has achieved cult status at Sunderland AFC, but not many become derby legends. If you want to become one, make sure you score.

Gary Rowell

Gary Rowell will always be a Sunderland legend.

Rowell was Sunderland's leading post-war goalscorer up until he was surpassed by Kevin Phillips - playing either in midfield or up front, he lived out the boyhood dreams of every Sunderland fan when he spanked an impressive hattrick past the mags on their own soil back in 1979, earning his place in mackem folklore for the rest of time.

His first goal was a relatively simple tap in after a long ball was nodded into his path, whilst his second was as a result of an early pass which caught the Newcastle defence off guard - Rowell raced through on goal to finish well past Steve Hardwick to put his side 2-0 up.

After John Connolly got one back for the Tynesiders, Rowell completed his hattrick with a goal from the spot, wrong-footing Hardwick to put his side clear and all but ensure the three points returned back to Sunderland that day.

Stan Cummins

Stan's winner in the 1-0 victory at Roker Park in 1980 brings about different memories, depending whether you're a glass half full or half empty kind of person. That victory was our last on Wearside for twenty-eight years, ended when we won 2-1 back in 2008.

After a cross from the right was dealt with poorly by Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Hardwick, the ball fell in the box, and with the goal gaping Stan Cummins steamed in to steer the ball into an empty net.

Stan had given Sunderland supporters the only thing to shout about over a forty-one year stretch - before that game, we hadn't won at home for almost fourteen years. If that doesn't make him a cult hero, I don't know what does.

Patrice Carteron

When Patrice Carteron arrived on loan in the January of 2001, little was known about the French defender.

With Chris Makin, erm, out of the side, Peter Reid quickly needed to reinforce his side at right back and the experienced 31-year old Carteron was signed with just a handful of games remaining that season with the club battling for a top six finish for the very first time since the formation of the Premier League.

Although he played in very few games at Sunderland, Patrice did take part and score in a match at the Stadium of Light against Newcastle towards the end of that season, a game that finished 1-1.

As Don Hutchison held the ball up on the right, Carteron overlapped before latching onto a through ball and finishing from an acute angle. Sadly it wasn't the winner, as with thirteen minutes left on the clock Andy O'Brien leveled it up for Bobby Robson's side.

Kieran Richardson

The man who broke 'Stan's curse' with that free kick.

Djibril Cisse had given the lads the lead with a finish from close range, but it was short-lived as Newcastle equalised through a Shola Ameobi header.

Going into the last fifteen minutes El Hadji Diouf won a free kick on the edge of the area, and up stepped Kieran Richardson, who rifled in a free kick which nearly broke the net.

As a direct result of that goal Richardson took hundreds of very bad free-kicks over the few years that proceeded it but I don't even particularly care - the fact he put away this one in the fashion that he did, and against Newcastle, is something that can be never taken away from him.

Jermain Defoe

The goal, the celebration.... the goal... THE GOAL!

I don't think we as Sunderland fans truly appreciate just how good this goal was. Perhaps its because a 1-0 win against our rivals doesn't look so impressive when nestled in amongst three 3-0 victories, but the best goal of this unbelievable run of wins against our rivals is surely Jermain Defoe's strike from range last year which left Tim Krul stranded in the Newcastle net.

Defoe has scored some superb goals over the course of his career, but I doubt that he's tucked away many with the quality that he did that day.

It was a fairly basic route-one goal, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Just before half time Costel Pantilimon played a long ball forward to Steven Fletcher, who jumped ahead of Mike Williamson and nodded the ball up into the air ahead of Jermain Defoe. Finding himself under zero pressure, Defoe waited for the ball to drop in from of him before smashing a left-footed volley past Tim Krul and into the net.

Defoe cried, such was the passion he exuded upon scoring that day.

It was a truly memorable occasion marked by a world class goal. I'll never forget the noise throughout half-time that day - it was like nothing I've ever seen.

Fabio Borini

How do you instantly endear yourself to the Sunderland supporters?

I suppose scoring against Newcastle will help.

During his first spell at the club - under Gustavo Poyet - Fabio Borini scored twice against Newcastle, and although both goals were completely different, they were both brilliant in their own right.

His first was a completely instinctual finish from range after collecting the ball from an awful Jozy Altidore touch, whilst his second - in the reverse tie at St James' Park - was a well-taken penalty, capped off with Borini laughing at Tim Krul trying to put him off scoring. Class.

We've seen more of the old Fabio Borini in recent weeks - here's hoping he continues his decent scoring form against Newcastle with a goal or three on Sunday.

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