Sunderland hero almost subbed before sinking Newcastle

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DERBY HERO Adam Johnson was on the verge of being substituted, before once again proving to be Newcastle’s derby nemesis.

Johnson netted his third in as many games at St James’s Park today to secure a club record fourth successive win for Sunderland over the Magpies.

With 10 minutes to go, Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet had been ready to replace Johnson with Will Buckley and even gave the ex-Manchester City man’s number to the fourth official.

But despite Johnson spurning a golden opportunity before the substitution was made, Poyet opted to keep him on and instead removed Connor Wickham - a decision which paid huge dividends as the Easington-born wideman netted a last-minute winner.

Poyet said: “We were going to change Jonno before he scored.

“We were looking for someone to go in behind.

“Just before the change was ready to be made, Jonno made a run in behind and missed the chance.

“Because he did that, he stayed on the pitch.

“That is the moment which made us win the game.

“I decided to change Connor and Jonno won the game.

“But the idea was to keep going in behind, it wasn’t to take off a striker and put on a winger to think of defending. It was to get that break.

“You would have probably seen it on TV, I went ‘No, no, no, Connor, number 10’.

“Decisions. You can call it luck, or whatever, but we didn’t have too much of it this year, so if that’s luck, I take it, for once. It’s not bad.”