Ten fan-favourite football matches to have been played at the Stadium of Light

Written by on 8th May 2024

The Stadium of Light is the home to Sunderland AFC and has held some great fixtures over its time.

From surviving relegation from the Premier League on the last day of the season, to witnessing consecutive relegations down to League One, Sunderland fans have been through it all.

Here are 10 fan-favourite football matches to have been played at the Stadium of Light:

1. Sunderland 4-1 Chelsea (1999)

The first on this list comes within the first two years of the Stadium of Light’s opening, in July 1997.

Sunderland hosted Chelsea in a thrilling game, in which both Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips bagged themselves a brace, two very famous names in the history of the home side.

The Mackems were four goals up within 38 minutes of the game, with the first goal coming in the first minute, before Phillips’ wonder goal in the 23rd minute.

Gustavo Poyet was the scorer for Chelsea on the day, another familiar name for Sunderland supporters, as the Uruguayan went on to manage them between 2013 and 2015.

2. Sunderland 3-2 Burnley (2007)

Credit: @Sunderland_GM on X.

Another five-goal thriller for the home fans to enjoy at the Stadium of Light when Sunderland beat Burnley in 2007.

This was a must-win game for Sunderland to regain the top position of the Championship table.

The game consisted of three penalties, so there was plenty of action, as the home fans had to watch their side come from behind this time.

Burnley looked to threaten Roy Keane’s Sunderland side until a screamer from Carlos Edwards sealed victory for the Mackems and lifted them back to the top of the league.

A very memorable fixture for Sunderland supporters, for many reasons.

3. Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool (2009)

Credit: lcfcian1 on Flickr

A very memorable fixture for all football fans across the world.

This very famous beachball incident occurred at the Stadium of Light, in front of over 40,000 supporters.

The Black Cats took the lead through Darren Bent’s effort on goal being allowed to stand after deflecting in off a beach ball, which had been thrown onto the pitch by a Liverpool fan.

Victory for Sunderland meant they climbed up to seventh in the Premier League, above Liverpool ironically.

4. Sunderland 1-0 Man City (2012)

Another great piece of football history, maybe not just for Sunderland fans, came in this game when Sunderland beat Manchester City in 2012.

City were looking to gain an advantage over rivals Manchester United who had lost to Blackburn, but Sunderland made it no easy task.

Nicklas Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon both had a goal disallowed in the game for the home side.

But Ji Dong-won’s winner, with the last kick of the game, earned a famous victory for Sunderland, as he took the ball around Joe Hart.

The commentary from Martin Tyler for this goal will forever live on in the memories of every Sunderland fan.

5. Sunderland 2-1 Newcastle (2013)

Credit: @stevenmclean4 on X

This list could not be complete without a win against their bitter rivals Newcastle.

Sunderland were sat rock-bottom of the Premier League before this game, with just one point in eight games.

However, poor form has never stopped the Black Cats from showing up against their rivals.

Steven Fletcher took the lead for Sunderland in the first five minutes before Mathieu Debuchy equalised for Newcastle in the second half.

A late strike from Fabio Borini secured the first win of the season and bragging rights over the Wear-Tyne derby.

6. Sunderland 1-0 Newcastle (2015)

Credit: @LimbsSunderland on X.

It is back-to-back Wear-Tyne derby wins for Sunderland on this list.

This game consisted of a stunning volley from star man Jermaine Defoe to give Sunderland a fifth successive derby victory over Newcastle.

Defoe’s stunner gave the recently appointed Dick Advocaat his first win as Sunderland manager, and what a way to do it!

Newcastle struggled to threaten the home side at all, but the only goal of the game will go down in Wear-Tyne derby history.

It was so good that Newcastle goalkeeper, Tim Krul, even complimented Defoe in the tunnel at half-time!

7. Sunderland 3-2 Chelsea (2016)

Credit: @KerrieWilkinson on X.

In a crazy season that saw Leicester City win the Premier League, there was also a historic relegation battle.

Sunderland were sat 18th, in the relegation zone, below rivals Newcastle United before the game.

It was crucial for the Mackems to get right, but the odds were against them playing Chelsea, who were 2-1 up by half-time.

But the home side fought back and clinched victory in the 70th minute through Jermaine Defore, once again.

The win lifted them out of the relegation zone replacing Newcastle in 17th.

8. Sunderland 3-0 Everton (2016)

Credit: TheMadMistake on YouTube.

“One Night in Heaven” as described by TheMadMistake on YouTube.

This fixture will live on forever as golden, a classic. If not one of the best moments as a Sunderland fan.

Securing Premier League survival, whilst sending down your biggest rival, Newcastle United, beating Everton 3-0.

There is not much more you could want being a Sunderland fan that day.

The energy inside the stadium on this day will be hard to match ever again.

9. Sunderland 4-5 Coventry City (2019)

Credit: @davidpercival42 on X.

Credit: @jameslccfc on X.

Fast-forward to 2019 and Sunderland are now in League One, the third tier of English football.

Sunderland were sat third before the match, three points from an automatic promotion spot with a game in hand on Barnsley in second.

The home supporters would have expected to pick up three points, but Coventry had a two-goal lead within 25 minutes.

The Black Cats managed to pull it back, going into half-time at 3-3, but two more goals in the second half saw the away side cause a huge upset.

Despite it being a loss at home, it was still a great end-to-end game, with a bouncing atmosphere.

10. Sunderland 2-1 Luton Town (2023)

Credit: @kisyrpk on X.

The first leg of the Championship Play-offs for a spot back in the Premier League!

A huge occasion for Sunderland, and their supporters, as they looked to get back to where they belonged in the top tier of English football.

The club had put on a spectacular pre-match show for the fans to turn up early and build the atmosphere early, with flags placed on the seats for the supporters to wave.

Unfortunately, Luton Town struck first, so the home fans had to watch their team chase the rest of the game.

But just before the second half, Amad Diallo pulled out a wonderful strike from outside the box to equal the score.

It was then Trai Hume to give Sunderland the lead and the win in the second half with his goal in the 63rd minute.

The Stadium of Light was bouncing with hope of the Premier League once again, as they took a goal-lead into the second leg.

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