Jonathon Hawley says...
Southampton 5-0 was a fantastic experience - the sun was shining, big crowd in front of the Sky cameras, and an absolute demolition job!
Slight recency bias coupled with the fact I only was able to go last minute because my dad was away and I nicked his season card mean I felt lucky just to be there, but there was no luck involved on the day. We outclassed Southampton in every department, despite the fact we didn’t dominate the ball, and we were full value for every one of the five we put past Gavin Bazunu.
After an inauspicious start to the season, we needed a real statement win to mark our playoff credentials, and we delivered it in spades. Pierre Ekwah dominated in midfield, Jack Clarke was a live wire, and basically every player to a man was levels above our recently Premier League opposition.
It might not turn out to be the most pivotal result we’ve had in the KLD era, and will hopefully be surpassed by even better performances throughout the coming years, but it just felt fantastic to go toe-to-toe with pedigree opposition and come out looking like world beaters.
The feeling I got felt akin to that of the best days in the Premier League, and it’s a feeling I hope to see repeated again and again in the coming months.
Plus, I even saw Bradley Dack score a goal!
Kelvin Beattie says...
I feel chuffed to be able to say there are a growing number of games, goals and moments that characterise our football under this regime.
For me Cirkin’s second goal at West Brom last season was sublime and said everything good about our “ethos”.
Having equalised, we just kept playing our own version of tiki-taka despite West Brom at times bringing the game to us strongly at times.
Typical of our on-field attitude, a full back scores his second goal of the game, and one of our most attacking players (Amad) is furthest back.
Seventeen passes from the edge of our own box to Cirkin ramming the ball into the back of the Baggies' goal without one opposition player touching the ball - a bloody marvellous goal!
Phil West says...
It has to be the goal that came from one swing of Ross Stewart’s right boot that gave us a 2-0 lead against Wycombe in the 2021/2022 playoff final and eventually sealed our return to the Championship after four years of League One purgatory.
Ahead of that game, there was a lot of hype & anticipation, and no small amount of nerves as Sunderland supporters travelled en-masse to London.
Would the Wembley curse derail us again? Could we deal with the physical threat of Gareth Ainsworth’s team with so much on the line?
The answer was yes. Alex Neil had given us the toughness and the confidence to ensure that the chance to win the playoffs was to be embraced and not feared, and when Elliot Embleton gave us the lead early in the game, the dream edged closer to becoming a reality.
A controlled and measured performance followed, and when Stewart picked the ball up late in the game before shifting it to his right and thumping it past David Stockdale, the celebrations on the pitch and in the stands were unlike anything we’d seen in the four previous years.
Championship football was ours, the third tier nightmare was over, and it had been sealed with one of the most important goals ever scored by a Sunderland player- and at the national stadium, too.
A goal for the ages.