SUNDERLAND fans are walking in a winter wonderland today after the Black Cats sealed their fourth straight derby win over Newcastle United.
Adam Johnson’s 90th-minute strike was enough to hand Gus Poyet’s men a 1-0 victory at St James’s Park, making this the third season in a row Sunderland have claimed all three points at the home of their fiercest rivals.
The win sparked celebrations across Wearside and provided fans with the perfect start to the festive season.
Newcastle started the match the brighter and looked to be on top for the first few minutes, but Sunderland’s nerves soon settled and they began to work their way into the game.
The Black Cats hit Newcastle perfectly on the break, with Johnson ending a move he himself had started, courtesy of helping hands from Steven Fletcher and Will Buckley.
For fans watching in the Chesters pub in Sunderland, the goal was enough to cause scenes of pandemonium, exceeded only by those five minutes later when the whistle went for the end of added-on time.
Michael Wilson, 30, and brother Shaun, 29, of Fulwell, were overjoyed with the result.
“It is unbelievable,” said Michael. “We were expecting a draw.”
Shaun described the win as “the best Christmas present ever” and insisted Sunderland had been good value for the three points.
“We had the better chances,” he said.
Dad Dean Phillips, of Barnes, was delighted to have been proved wrong by son Matthew, 12.
“I have been telling him we couldn’t do four in a row, but I knew we could really,” said Dean, 46. “I’m over the moon.”
Matthew was pleased with the result but reckoned the margin of victory should have been more emphatic. “I thought in the first half we could have done better. We could have had two goals,” he said.
“But we played really well, and I’m just pleased we won today. We needed the three points.”
Nine-year-old Tilda Charles was out with mum Dionne to watch the game.
“It’s great,” she said. “I knew we were going to win today.”
Chris and Susan Penman were out with family and friends, including sons Christopher, 12, and Jack, eight.
All four are season ticket holders at the Stadium of Light and 40-year-old Chris, of Ryhope, admitted to a touch of nerves pre-kick off.
“Beforehand, I would have settled for a draw,” he said. “But it feels even better to get a win.”
Carol Gallagher, 29, of Southwick, was part of a large group of friends celebrating the victory.
“I feel ecstatic,” she said.
“I had doubts beforehand. I thought we were going to lose 3-0, with Jack Colback scoring the last one, like he did last year.”
Angela Noble, 28, of Tunstall, predicted the win would be a catalyst for Sunderland’s stuttering season.
“We are going to go all the way. We are going to be absolutely brilliant,” she said.
Catarina Orwin, 35, reckoned the win had put the spark back among fans.
“This is the best atmosphere we’ve had since Wembley, but in a totally different way,” she said.
Pals Caron MacDonald and Marie Jones were in festive party spirit, both dressed as Mrs Claus.
“I am over the moon,” said Marie, 52, but Caron, 50, admitted the game could have gone either way. “It was a very close match, but we made the better chances,” she said.”