Sunderland Survey 2013: St James’s Park victory the best performance of the season ...

Paolo Di Canio celebrates David Vaughan scoring the third goal against Newcastle United.

Paolo Di Canio celebrates David Vaughan scoring the third goal against Newcastle United.

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SUNDERLAND’S victory over local rivals Newcastle United was voted the Black Cats’ best performance by a country mile by fans.

The Echo’s Survey 2013 saw the 3-0 win at St James’s Park poll more votes than every other game in contention put together!

There were fine victories over Manchester City, Everton, West Ham, Wigan, Reading and Fulham which all merited a mention.

But the Newcastle match stood head and shoulders above them all in the opinion of supporters.

It was hardly a surprise, given how memorable the game was – new coach Paolo Di Canio’s first win in charge of the Black Cats coming courtesy of three superb strikes from Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan.

It was a great performance, full of character and no small amount of class and of course the fact that it came at the home of the Magpies made it all the sweeter for Sunderland fans.

Purists might argue that judging on the basis of a quality display alone, the game that followed on from the derby – the 1-0 win over Everton – was actually a better one.

David Moyes’ side were still chasing Europe and had an outside chance of Champions League qualification when they came to Sunderland in April.

But the Black Cats did superbly to notch back-to-back wins thanks to Sessegnon’s final goal of the season – a victory which went a long way to preserving Sunderland’s top-flight status.

The significance and quality of that display saw votes for the Everton game eclipse those for the victory over Manchester City on Boxing Day thanks to a goal from former Blue Adam Johnson.

January’s handsome 3-0 win over West Ham lived long in the memory of fans.

“JUST beautiful,” “brilliant”, “magnificent” and “wow!” were just some of the superlatives Sunderland fans handed out when they voted the game against Newcastle their game of the season.

The victory over the Magpies was comfortably the most popular game of the season with Sunderland fans.

But many supporters were simply pleased that after several no-shows at St James’s Park, Sunderland really put in a performance.

“First time we have turned up at St James’s Park since the play-off season,” said Peter Thompson of Consett, which was perhaps a bit harsh on Peter Reid’s two victories there.

Dan Ward, of South Shields agreed: “Haven’t seen a better derby performance in more than 20 years plus of supporting Sunderland,” he said.

“Brilliant performance. Felt good to be a Sunderland fan after the season we were having under Martin O’Neill,” said Richard Jackson of Hollycarside.

But perhaps summing it up, was Stuart King of Penshaw, who said: “Fantastic result against the enemy.

“Best result against them in my lifetime – superb!”

And John Young of Morpeth struck an optimistic note when he said: “I look forward to many more such results in this fixture.

“But it was a miracle considering the form of previous weeks.”