Sunderland’s Ross Stewart pounces on an error by Sheffield Wednesday defender Sam Hutchinson to score the only goal of the evening to give the hosts a narrow 1-0 advantage heading into Monday’s second leg at Hillsborough. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Ross Stewart hailed the “spectacular” atmosphere at the Stadium of Light after Sunderland claimed a narrow win against Sheffield Wednesday.
The Scottish striker continued to shine as he struck his 25th goal of the season to give the Black Cats a slender lead to take into Monday night’s second leg at Hillsborough.
There were chances to extend that advantage throughout the opening hour as the Wearside faithful roared their side forwards.
Alex Neil’s men responded with a performance full of energy and swagger before showing a more dogged side when their visitors starting to get a foothold in the contest during the final 20 minutes.
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Stewart reflected on the impact his goal made on a record crowd of just under 45,000 as they produced a vibrant atmosphere in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
“I was just chasing it down, I’m just a striker, it’s part of the job,” he told Sky Sports.
“Luckily, I was able to nick it from the defender and put it away.
“It was great to get the goal just before half-time and it’s a platform going into half-time.
“In the second-half, I think we were professional and we were unlucky not to get another one.
“It was all about getting the win tonight and we have done that.
“The noise in here tonight was spectacular, the players thrived off it.
“When the goal went in, the place erupted.
“We have given them something to get excited about and hopefully we can finish the job on Monday.”
Black Cats team-mate Alex Pritchard also looked forward to the second leg at Hillsborough and warned his side they will have to “stand up” to facing a similar atmosphere from Wednesday supporters on Monday night.
He said: “I think in large spells of the game we played really well, we played some good football.
“Maybe (we) could have scored a couple more.
“We put on a great performance, but it’s only half of the job done.
“It’s going to be a massive game back at their place and they’re a good team.
“At home, the atmosphere at their place is going to be electric.
“We have to stand up to it, it’s massive, it’s going to be big.”