SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Shooting stars, Leadbitter buzzing

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Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago today.

SHOOTING STARS!:

TOP CATS goal hero Carlos Edwards blasted out a message to Sunderland’s promotion rivals – Catch us if you can!

 The pacy winger scored a superb equaliser at Southampton yesterday, and that was followed by a marvellous winner from Grant Leadbitter as Sunderland powered to the top of the Championship.

 Edwards said: “It feels great to be on top of the Championship after a great three points. But we’re not going to take our foot off the pedal.

 “This is just the beginning....

LEADBITTER BUZZING AFTER HITTING THE TOP:

TOP-OF-THE-LEAGUE Sunderland are “buzzing”, says Southampton matchwinner Grant Leadbitter.

 The home-grown hero – from Fence Houses – shot the Black Cats to the Championship summit with his sixth goal of the season.

 It sent 3,000-plus travelling Sunderland fans wild at St Mary’s Stadium – and left the pubs and clubs of Wearside enjoying one big party.

 Leadbitter said: “The moment I hit the ball, I was off. I knew it was in. Thankfully it got us three points and it feels fantastic to be top of the table. All of the lads are buzzing – hopefully we can stay there now.”

 Leadbitter insisted the failures of closest promotion rivals Derby – who could only draw at home with Coventry – and Birmingham (1-0 losers at Barnsley) were irrelevant to the players as they faced Saints in a 5.15 kick-off.

 “I didn’t know the other scored before the game,” said the 21-year-old. “We don’t have to worry about other teams. It is about what we do and that’s what we are focussed on.”

 Saints led through Marek Saganowski’s second-half opener but Sunderland would settle for a share of the spoils after Carlos Edwards brought them level.

 Leadbitter added: “If we’d got a draw after being 1-0 down we would have been reasonably happy. But with our players we always feel there are more goals in us.

 “Dave Connolly put me in with a great little pass but I thought my first touch had got away from me. I managed to get a clean strike though.

 “It’s another great win, but we’ve got a game against QPR at home on Saturday and that’s as far as we’re looking. We have to win that one now.”