At the moment, Sunderland fans really don’t have much to get excited over. The Mackems are fighting for promotion from League One after a crippling double relegation. However, things haven’t always been this bad, and it was just four years ago that they were celebrating beating Newcastle thanks to Jermain Defoe’s best moment in red and white.
In the 2014/15 season, Sunderland fans had a great campaign. The Mackems only finished 16th with seven wins to their name, but two of those wins came against their bitter rivals, Newcastle United, and they didn’t go down, so it was successful by those standards. The pick of those wins was the home one against Newcastle, though, as new signing Jermain Defoe scored one of the best goals of his career.
Under the management of Dick Advocaat, Sunderland’s home clash against Newcastle was a massively important one. At that stage in the season the relegation battle was hotting up, and a win against the Geordies would take their winning run against their neighbours to five games, matching the best ever winning streak in the fixture set by Newcastle in 2006.
It was a tense affair, and with Sunderland starting the game with three recognised strikers in the form of Steven Fletcher, Defoe and Connor Wickham, it was clear what Advocaat was after. Despite the firepower, it was a game decided by a single goal, and what a goal it was. Defoe’s humdinger of a strike would have been good enough to win any game, and it will be one that the 36-year-old will treasure.
A long kick from Costel Pantilimon aimed towards the Newcastle penalty area found its target, and as Steven Fletcher beat his man to the header, no one inside the Stadium of Light could predict what would happen next. Defoe lined up a left-footed volley and fired it perfectly past Tim Krul into the top right-hand corner from the best part of 25 yards. It was only Defoe’s 3rd goal since joining Sunderland, and it was undoubtedly the best of his 37 strikes for the club.
That season, having only joined the Black Cats mid-season in January, Defoe helped himself to just four goals in the Premier League. The following season saw him up his tally to a whopping 15 top flight strikes and without Defoe in that second season the Mackems would have gone down for sure.
However, none of those goals will ever match that Tyne-Wear strike and Sunderland fans everywhere will agree with us when we say the best of Defoe came in that derby in April 2015.
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