DAVID Vaughan labelled his St James’s stunner as the best goal of his career after putting the icing on Sunderland’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle United.
Substitute Vaughan broke his duck for the season in spectacular fashion at St James’s Park yesterday after capping the first win of Paolo Di Canio’s reign with a sizzling left-footed strike into the top corner.
It was only the third time the Welsh international has scored for Sunderland, yet his maiden goal last season was also a crucial one after netting the equaliser in the victory over Blackburn Rovers, in Martin O’Neill’s first game in charge.
But Vaughan says scoring against the Magpies goes straight to the top of his personal highlights after helping Sunderland to their first win on Tyneside since 2000.
Vaughan told the Echo: “Have I scored any better than that? Probably not, just due to the occasion of it.
“To score away at Newcastle is something that you don’t top.
“I just tried to hit it across the keeper and make him make a save.
“Luckily, it went exactly where I wanted it to go.
“I’d say it probably tops the goal against Blackburn – it was an important goal to score.
“I got mobbed afterwards though... I didn’t really know what was going on!
“But that shows the togetherness we’ve got in the team now, so hopefully we can build on that.”
Only goal difference separated Sunderland from the relegation zone at the start of the day, albeit that could again be the case again if third bottom Wigan win at fellow FA Cup finalists Manchester City on Wednesday night.
But Vaughan admits it was pleasing to create some breathing space with the bottom three in style after Sunderland matched their biggest wins of the season – the 3-0 successes against Reading and West Ham.
“I can’t stop smiling. It’s been a tough season for us and going to St James’s and winning in the fashion we did was very pleasing,” added the 30-year-old.
“It was nice not to be hanging in there at the end for a change, rather than being backs-to-the-wall.
“The lads played really well in the first half and got a goal ahead, which we deserved.
“We learned from the Chelsea game and came out in the second half and took the game to them rather than sitting back.”