Lynden Gooch reflects on his stunning goal, tactical switch and '˜amazing' afternoon
In and out of the side during a turbulent two years, Lynden Gooch looks ready to lead from the front in Sunderland's bold new era.
Arguably the best performer in pre-season, he picked up where he left off on Saturday, a menace throughout and sealing the win with a stunning last minute header.
The 22-year-old reflected on an ‘amazing’ moment and senses the optimism building at the club.
“It was amazing. It’s what everyone dreams of,” he said.
“That’s what you play for, a last-minute winner. No matter what it’s the best feeling.
“It’s the first time it’s ever happened to me and I’m glad it happened on Saturday, at home.
“A comeback win, I don’t even remember the last time we’ve had that We’ve just got to take that confidence and belief in ourselves that if we do go a goal down, so be it. Just keep playing.
“Everyone gave everything. I was the lucky one to get the last-minute winner but everyone to a man put a shift. I think that showed the character of the team. In previous years we might have crumbled. We didn’t.
“As soon as they scored you heard the roar of the fans, they really got behind us. We just needed to stay patient, just keep plugging away like the gaffer said and trying to create chances and that’s what we did. We kept to the gameplan.
“There’s been a lot of changes and I think you could feel the sense of optimism around the place with all the fans coming back,” he added.
“Thirty thousand is amazing but we all know they’re Premier League fans in a Premier League stadium and the rest of it so we need to make sure that we don’t get ahead of ourselves, but we just keep going, take it into the next game.”
Despite being one of the smaller players in the squad it was Gooch’s second headed goal in recent times, scoring at Grimsby Town in pre-season.
The youngster has made goal contributions a big target for the season and despite being pushed to wing-back as part of a half-time reshuffle, he had every confidence he could make the difference.
He said: “I don’t know, maybe I’m just attacking the ball better, getting to the back stick. I want to score as many goals as I can and that’s a big part that I’m trying to change, I’m trying to attack the ball.
“I’m not a big lad but I know if I attack things I’m strong and as long as I get there they’ll hopefully fly in.
“Wing-back, that was a first for me! I was basically playing as a winger, really. Their left-back got booked early on so he couldn’t afford to foul me and I just had to keep pushing him back to his own goal rather than him pushing me back.
“It’s definitely something new but you know what? I’ll take the goal. I’ll play wing-back every week if I’m scoring headers.”
H Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer admit it “hurt” to lose to Sunderland in the final minute.
The visitors were the better side in the opening 45 minutes, former Sunderland target Lyle Taylor scoring from the penalty spot in the ninth minute after Chris Maguire had bundled over Karlan Grant.
Bowyer’s side had further chances to extend their lead at the Stadium of Light before Sunderland fought their way back into the game, Jack Ross switching systems from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 at half-time, it proved key to the second half revival.
Josh Maja scored with a fine, low finish with 65 minutes on the clock before Lynden Gooch scored a superb header six minutes into added-on time to snatch the win at the death.
A dejected Bowyer said: “It always hurts to concede that late on. The lads gave me everything, they didn’t deserve to lose that and come away with nothing. A draw was probably a fair result.”