I CERTAINLY got my prediction wrong – I didn’t expect that for one minute.
A great performance from the makeshift team and considering how many players were out before the game as well as losing Brown early on, I feared the worst.
Thankfully, though, O’Neill has instilled a self-belief in the team that has been gone for the past 12 months and the players proved it with the goal. With about ten seconds left, they could have just kept the ball and waited for the whistle, but we attacked and, after a one-two with the exceptional Sessegnon, Ji rounded Hart and slotted into an empty net.
What a grandstand finish!. The noise after the ball went in is something I haven’t heard for a long time.
We rode our luck. Yes, Ji was offside, but, after the penalty decision on Boxing Day, I think we earned a bit of luck.
Everyone played their part, Gardner and Colback were excellent at full-back, Kilgallon did well considering he hasn’t played in the first team since 2010, Sessegnon was as lively as ever and O’Shea had by far his best display since signing, but, for me, the star man was the captain. Cattermole was fantastic, covered every blade of grass and was sensible with both his passing and his tackling.
If O’Neill can keep him playing that like, then we might get to see the player we thought we were getting from Wigan.
To read the rest of the Echo Jury, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.