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Roker Report End Of 2016 Awards - SAFC's Best Goal

With last year now behind us, we polled our readers to find out what they felt was Sunderland's best goal of 2016.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

In Fourth Place...

Victor Anichebe v Bournemouth (5%)

It seemed like being another day at the office for Sunderland after Dan Gosling opened the scoring for Bournemouth after just 11 minutes - and not a good one. But we had a not-so-secret weapon in our arsenal, a battering ram that went by the name of Victor Anichebe. It was the Nigerian’s first start in red and white (well, blue and white, but you know) and he made an immediate impact, almost single-handedly hauling the Lads back into the game.

The goal typified everything about Anichebe - simple brute strength. Receiving the ball from Jermain Defoe, the big man continued to back into Simon Francis before finding space and firing an unstoppable strike past Artur Boruc. It was a huge goal in Sunderland’s season. A goal that gave a side low on confidence the belief that they could go on and win their first game of the season. And they did just that after Defoe converted a 74th minute penalty, won by - you guessed it - the big man.

In Third Place...

Fabio Borini v Palace (9%)

March’s encounter with Palace was a game to perfectly sum Sunderland up. The initial hope, the despair and desperation, and then the joy at the end. Fabio Borini has a knack of scoring huge goals for Sunderland, and this one was no different.

Dame N’Doye had given Sunderland the lead, only for former striker Connor Wickham to crush our hopes and dreams with a quickfire double. But there was still time to rescue something, and up stepped Fabio. Receiving the ball from DeAndre Yedlin on the right side of the box, the Italian unleashed a stunning strike that flew past Wayne Hennessey and into the far corner. It was a significant goal. Not only did it move Sunderland out of the relegation zone on goal difference, but it showed that, despite what had gone before it, the Lads well and truly had the stomach for the fight.

In Second Place...

Jermain Defoe v Chelsea (25%)

With three games left in the 2015-16 season, Sunderland found themselves in 18th place, one point above Norwich and one behind Newcastle - a visit from Chelsea was hardly what they needed.

And it looked to be another disappointing day after a 14th minute opener from Diego Costa. Wahbi Khazri levelled in spectacular style, only for Nemanja Matic to give Chelsea a half time lead. But the Lads huffed and puffed, and Borini’s effort somehow found its way into the net to make it 2-2.

Just listen to that noise.

Then up stepped Jermain Defoe. He’d only had one shot up to that point, and even that was from an offside position. But like a true predator, he was ready when he needed to be. Yedlin beat his man and put a ball across. It was deflected - it could have gone anywhere. But it fell to the feet of Defoe, who, in true fashion, took one touch and rifled it past Courtois. The stadium exploded. The crowd went wild. And Sunderland held on for the win. A win that took Sunderland out of the relegation zone and meant that they needed just one win from their final two to stay up - at the expense of Newcastle, no less.

And The Winner Is...

Wahbi Khazri v Chelsea (61%)

What. A. Game. What. A. Goal.

The Stadium of Light has played host to some of the Premier League’s most exciting games and breathtaking goals, and this was certainly no exception. Wahbi Khazri had generally impressed since his January arrival, but he’d gone nine games without contributing a goal or assist. This was certainly a stunning way to end that barren spell.

After a game of head tennis between the two sides following a Sunderland free kick, Gary Cahill’s clearance fell to the Tunisian and... BANG!

As sweet as you like, Khazri connected with a right-footed volley that went past Courtois and almost sent the net flying onto Roker beach.

In terms of importance or emotion, it’s not quite up there with the Borini or Defoe efforts, but bloody hell, it is one outstanding goal and one of the best you’ll ever see at the Stadium of Light.

Congratulations to Wahbi on winning this fine award!