Lynden Gooch gives brilliant insight into THAT goal, his Sunderland form and a key chat with Phil Parkinson

At full time, Lynden Gooch led the march to the away support.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 6:00 am

His team-mates grabbed him, the adrenaline of that stunning strike still coursing through everyone’s veins.

Afterwards, a few had joked that this was starting to become the Gooch trademark and there is most definitely something in that.

He is making a habit of these exceptional strikes. Right-footed by nature, defenders have a habit of showing him inside onto his left foot but it is something that they are going to have revisit and quickly.

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Lynden Gooch wins three points for Sunderland with a stunning strike

His quality from range is starting to feel unparalleled at this level and just as it had done against Doncaster Rovers, a similar goal at a similarly critical juncture, his intervention changed the course of a crucial match.

Alim Ozturk thanked him on more than one occasion.

The centre-back had missed two clear chances either side of that strike, and felt he owed a debt of gratitude to the 24-year-old.

The response from Gooch was that with two clean sheets in two, Ozturk has done his job.

Gooch is most certainly doing his.

Since his return from injury he has been a leader of this side, not just with his exemplary finishing but with his aggression and application off the ball.

On the morning of this contest, Phil Parkinson had pulled him aside for a chat.

Gooch has excelled in this division in the past but Sunderland need him to maintain it throughout the campaign this time and that was the message from manager to player.

“It is a moment of real quality from Lynden,” Parkinson said after the game.

“I had a good chat with him in the hotel about how he has done since getting back in the team but wanting him to push on again and not just accept the pats on the back which have come his way because he is a very good player and he has to keep taking his game to the next level each week and that goal was a moment of immense quality.”

Gooch, like many of his team-mates, had not quite found the intensity of recent matches in the first half at Stadium MK but in the second he was able to go through the gears.

He is a player thriving on the responsibility he has been handed.

“I had a good chat with the manager,” he said.

“He doesn't want me to just be happy with what I've done.

“He wants me to keep going and keep improving, keep driving the team forward as much as I can.

“It's obviously nice to have that faith from him since I've come back from injury.”

The forward is no stranger to spectacular strikes and the scenes they inspire, but this particular goal was right up there.

Gooch was booked, somewhat harshly, for the wild celebrations that followed.

It was worth it.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” he said.

“I've scored a few away goals and that's probably up there with my favourite.

“I don't know why I got a yellow card, he said I was in the crowd but I was still on the grass, I think it was the crowd on the pitch!

“But to score a goal like that, I'll take it.”

Gooch has now matched his goalscoring tally for last season but the memories of a difficult end to a campaign (he did not score after January 22nd) will ensure that he does not take his foot off the gas.

Relentless work on his finishing, with both feet, is paying off, and he has perhaps learned lessons from that drought last year.

“A lot of it [two-footed finishing] is natural,” he said.

“From being a young kid I've always tried to work on playing with both feet, and I'm comfortable on both now and going either way, but I do work hard on my finishing and especially with my left foot, I've always worked hard on that.

“People know that I'm right-footed so it's good to be able to go the other way as well.

“Maybe last year I put a bit too much pressure on myself,” he added.

“I'm trying just to take it one game at a time, as cliched as that sounds.

“I'd love to get into double figures obviously, that would be a big bonus for me, but as long as we're winning games I'm not really bothered.

“Between me and Chrissy, we've shared the loads a bit. Charlie got his goal last week and was unlucky not to get one today, so between the three of us hopefully we can keep getting them.

“Laffs has come on there and played a part in that win as well.”

This was not a vintage Sunderland display but it was one that showed the growing spirit and resilience in the group, something that Gooch has been right at the heart of.

“Last week I thought at home, we played really well with and without the ball,” he said.

“Today, we weren't so good with the ball but without it we were absolutely brilliant, especially in the second half.

“We pressed them well, didn't give them time on the ball and tried to play in their half a lot more.

“Sometimes when you come away from home you have to roll your sleeves up and grind it out if you want to be in the hunt for promotion.”