For the first time in my supporting days, I left the Stadium of Light early on Saturday along with many others when the third goal went in.
It’s not something I ever think of doing, but there was a sense of resignation - or even frustration - with how the game had panned out.
Even before Luke O’Nien’s red card, it felt that the referee Keith Stroud was in the mood to make some enemies in the home end. Some of his calls before and after the red card were hard to take, with the atmosphere in the ground turning raucous in protest over the utter drivel he was serving up.
Funnily enough, I think one of the few correct decisions he made was the red card.
With things going against them, I thought the team was really good on Saturday - and the fans brought a noise to match it.
The crowd noise at the Stadium of Light has been a source of debate amongst fans over the years, with many feeling it could be a lot better.
Between fans leaving early for pints or other elements, there have been times this season where it’s felt more like a library than a football stadium.
I don’t know whether it was because of the referee or the enthusiasm of the fans, but the atmosphere on Saturday was probably one of the best of the season.
There was a huge appetite for the battle that the team were in after the red card, and the fight and passion shown by the players on the pitch was reciprocated by the fans in the stands, with the noise for Dan Neil’s equaliser as loud as I’ve heard all season.
With Sunday’s derby (of sorts) on the horizon, it seems a perfect opportunity to bring that raucous atmosphere once again.
Middlesborough are going extremely well under Michael Carrick, making this an interesting and tough battle. Clearly, they are going to be confident - but so should we be.
Our form at home has been patchy at times yet I have no doubt we were going to win last Saturday had it not been for the unfortunate red card.
Since the start of the season our away form has been very decent, and with the way the league is panning out a strong run at the Stadium of Light could propel us closer to the top than we would have dreamed of at the start of the season.
A loud, boisterous and intimidating Stadium of Light is hard to beat. Think of Sheffield Wednesday in the playoffs or Blackburn on Boxing Day - the noise can be deafening.
It sounds clichéd, but I have no doubt that when we’re loud we act like the 12th man out on the pitch for Sunderland - it lifts everyone.
At around the half way point in the season we find ourselves flirting with the playoff zone. With that in mind, surely we should be using one of our best assets - our fanbase - to our advantage.
Let's make our place hell for the opposition this weekend and every home game after. We clearly have the potential to do it - and let’s be honest, derby or not, we all want to beat Middlesborough on Sunday, don’t we?
Ha’way the Lads!