Ha’way Back When: Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday - goals from Leadbitter, Schwarz and Melville

Grant Leadbitter
Grant Leadbitter
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Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday should be a regular league fixture.

Should!

Sunderland AFC coverage sponsored by John. G Hogg

Sunderland AFC coverage sponsored by John. G Hogg

But Wednesday are an example of what can happen to big clubs.

The last time they played in the top flight of English football was the 1999-2000 season. It’s getting close to 20 years ago!

And four of those seasons since then have been spent in the third tier.

That, of course, is where Sunderland could find themselves next season, for the second time in their history.

Stefan Schwarz

Stefan Schwarz

You have to go back to the 2006-7 season for the last time the clubs met on Wearside.

That game, in September, 2006, brought Roy Keane his first home victory as Sunderland boss.

The Black Cats won 1-0 thanks to a Grant Leadbitter goal on 58 minutes.

It was his first Sunderland goal, powering the ball home after the visiting defence failed to react to Liam Lawrence’s cross.

Andy Melville.

Andy Melville.

Sunderland surged to the league title that season, with Wednesday finishing ninth.

Sunderland: Alnwick, Nosworthy, Collins, Leadbitter, Varga, Cunningham, Lawrence, Whitehead, Murphy (Brown 84), Yorke (Connolly 89), Hysen (Miller 74). Subs not used: Ward, Elliott.

Sheffield Wed: Jones, Simek, Spurr, O’Brien, Coughlan, Bougherra, Folly (Adams 76), Talbot (MacLean 76), Tudgay, Burton (Small 65), Brunt.

The two clubs did meet in the 1999-2000 campaign - the season when Wednesday, under Danny Wilson, last waved goodbye to the top flight, finishing 19th with 31 points.

Sunderland were on a different trajectory, finishing seventh under Peter Reid. It was Sunderland’s best league finish since 1955 when they finished fourth top. Stefan Schwarz was the goalscorer on September 25, 1999, with Reidy’s men winning 1-0. Wednesday’s side included Emerson Thome, who was soon to join the Black Cats.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, Gray, McCann, Bould, Butler, Summebee, Ball (Rae 46), Quinn (Dichio 85), Phillips, Schwarz. Subs not used: Marriott, Williams, Fredgaard.

Sheffield Wed: Srnicek, Nolan, Briscoe, Donnelly (Sibon 83), Thome, Walker, Alexandersson, Rudi (Jonk 63), De Bilde (Cresswell 63), Booth, Sonner.

Sunderland drew 1-1 with Wednesday in the Premier League in the 1996-97 season, with this game played in the final season at Roker Park.

The November 96 clash, saw Scott Oakes open the scoring in the 66th minute only for centre-half Andy Melville to earn a point with the equaliser two minutes later.

Sunderland claimed 40 points that season but still went down after a tight relegaton battle. Wednesday, with David Pleat in the hotseat, finished seventh.

Sunderland: Perez, Hall, Kubicki, Bracewell, Ball (Rae 46), Melville, Smith, Scott, Stewart, Bridges (Russell 72), Kelly. Subs not used: Preece, Gray, Agnew.

Sheffield Wed: Pressman, Atherton, Nolan, Pembridge, Newsome, Walker, Oakes (Humphreys 84), Hyde, Booth, Carbone, Trustfull (Whittingham 55). Subs not used: Clarke, Stefanovic, Briscoe.