Trai Hume was the Sunderland hero at the weekend when he headed home a second-half winner to give the Black Cats a 2-1 advantage to take into the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final against Luton Town on Tuesday.
The former Linfield player, who was again deployed as a right-sided central defender, was delighted that his second goal of the season had secured a vital win for Tony Mowbray’s side.
“We have been working on set pieces throughout the week,” said the 21-year-old. “I knew whenever Clarkey (Jack Clarke) got it he would try and shift it out of his feet and put it in, I was just in the right area to guide it in the net.
“I thought it was a good all-round performance,” he added. “Obviously the result was what we wanted, we wanted to win and go there with a lead.
“Their strikers are massive. Their centre halves are big but they're also athletic, it's not as if they can't move, they are fast and quick.
“They’re a good side but we’ll go there on Tuesday hoping to win again.”
In the other Championship play-off semi-final Paddy McNair produced a man-of-the-match performance as Middlesbrough held out for a scoreless draw at Coventry City.
“It was a tough game,” McNair said. “I think overall it was a fair result. I think in the first half we were the better team but they came back into it in the second half especially in the last 20-25 minutes of the game.
“I’m looking forward to Wednesday’s second-leg at home; the atmosphere is going to be unbelievable and I just hope we can get over the line.”
In Bolton Wanderers’ League One semi-final play-off Eoin Toal, Conor Bradley and Dion Charles all started for the Trotters with the latter scoring his 21st goal of the season to earn his side a draw at home to Barnsley.
In the Premier League Jamal Lewis was again an unused substitute as high-flying Newcastle United were held to a 2-2 draw by Sam Allardyce’s Leeds United at Elland Road.
In Scotland striker Kyle Vassell was on target as Kilmarnock secured a vital three points following a 2-0 victory over Livingston at Rugby Park.
Finally, Megan Bell came off the bench to score her third goal of the season after converting a 90th-minute penalty for Rangers who stormed to a 6-0 away win at Hearts on Sunday afternoon.