Walshie says... Lee Cattermole vs AFC Wimbledon!
After spending a summer being written off, being held up as the ring leader of Sunderland’s “rotten core”, Lee Cattermole shoved the words firmly down the throats of every single hater.
As Sunderland stared down the barrel of the ignominy of losing to a team that hadn’t existed a decade ago, Catts served up a performance for the ages.
He saw the glum faces, he heard the voices saying that he couldn’t cut it anymore and with a delightful tap-in and an imperious back-post volley he dragged his team out of a perilous position.
They all came flooding back after, all the naysayers were changing the tune and the humble pie was being forcefully swallowed down.
The undoubted “absolute boy” of Wearside was back and they couldn’t queue up quick enough bow down at his feet.
Gav says.... Grant Leadbitter vs Pompey (PSF 2nd leg)!
Sunderland’s performance away at Portsmouth in the second leg of the play-off semi final is perhaps best described as ‘professional’.
Looking at the statistics and the score you could be forgiven for thinking that Sunderland had taken part in an incredibly boring game of football, but it was the game management of Sunderland’s midfield in particular that set us apart from Pompey on the day, with Grant Leadbitter leading the way with perhaps his most polished and composed performance of the season.
What made the performance even more amazing was that in the aftermath of the game it was revealed that Leadbitter had lost his mother the day before to cancer, a secret he kept from everyone bar Jack Ross and George Honeyman.
The fact Leadbitter managed to keep his head and play so well with that weighing heavy on his mind speaks volumes to his character and professionalism, and for me, all things considered, that stands out as by far and above the most impressive individual performance of the season.
Graham says... Chris Maguire vs Accrington Stanley!
So...he was only on the pitch thirty or so minutes, but the way his introduction changed the game is like nothing I’ve saw in seasons.
We were dead and buried and looked out for the count, but The King showed guts, determination and balls to drag us back into the game.
If his free kick hadn’t been cleared off the line he would have won us all three points in half an hour. He was phenomenal.
Jack Ford says... Jon Mclaughlin vs Portsmouth!
This was a tough one, but I could have picked about fifteen games this season where Jon McLaughlin kept us from throwing away points.
This was the one that mattered the most however.
We went to Fratton Park with the most ambitious goal of keeping this Sunderland team from losing a 1-0 lead. If it wasn’t for three fantastic saves from Big Jon, we might not have even made it to Wembley.
The one player in the team that we don’t even have to think about replacing for the next few seasons, this was just one of many quietly excellent performances from what I believe is the best keeper in the league.