A magnificent Sunderland performance earned yet another 1-0 win over Manchester City at the Stadium Of Light during the festive period. It's almost like this is becoming as traditional as getting novelty socks and doing the Boxing Day Dip. Here's our full match report.
There was certainly a lively start to this Boxing Day encounter, but not quite in the manner any of us wanted as Manchester City created numerous chances within the first fifteen minutes of the game.
The most serious of concerns came in the seventh minute when Pablo Zabaleta got himself free in the box and just as the trigger was about to be squeezed, Seb Larsson was across to cover the danger for a corner. From the resulting corner City had two excellent chances. Vincent Kompany headed against the bar having escaped Carlos Cuellar's attentions and on the follow up Simon Mignolet saved superbly from Yaya Toure.
The visitors continued to pile on the pressure. David Silva curled a freekick over the bar from a good position. Yaya Toure found Mignolet equal to his rangey curler too, while all we seemed able to offer in return was a pretty poor freekick effort from Adam Johnson.
After this we seemed to come out of our shell a little bit having weathered the early storm. With Danny Rose fouled in an advanced area Craig Gardner lashed a freekick high, wide and not particularly handsome however it did get people on their feet a bit more.
Steven Fletcher came as close as anyone to opening the scoring when he latched on to a Stephane Sessegnon knock down to force Joe Hart into a low full-length stop round the post.
The danger however was still their for the visitors, and even during this spell of possession they carved out a very decent chance when Sergio Aguero skinned our defence. Matt Kilgallon got across to kind of cover although the Argentine still managed to get the ball into David Silva, who's close range effort couldn't get past Mignolet who'd made himself big.
Just after the half hour Steven Fletcher was denied a penalty claim. A relatively straight forward ball into the area saw him flattened by Kompany. Admittedly it would have been a soft one, but it's a foul all day every day outside the area, just as it was 30 seconds later when Gardner went over the back of Zabaleta.
We had a couple more chances in the first half too though. James McClean was like a man on a mission, pumping dangerous crosses into the box like it was nobodies business without any joy at the end of them, and nobody taking a chance on any of the clearances.
Speaking of which we must mention a superb tackle from McClean in all this. With Silva and a quiet Carlos Tevez running rings around our defence for a moment it looked for all the world the latter would score until a hard but fair challenge on the edge of the area by the Irishman cleared the danger.
Craig Gardner's powerful cross-shot had a little too much on it for Sessegnon to divert goalwards. Seb Larsson tried his luck from a freekick but couldn't get it over the wall, or get anywhere near the goal with his follow up.
At half time though you'd have said Manchester City were having the best of the chances, and our defending was at times desperate. We'd had our chances too though, and this was still anyone's game.
The second half started much slower than the first, but things were still end to end without any real chances being created. It was little surprise then that when the scoring was opened it wasn't through anything being carved open. Not that forty-odd thousand Wearsiders really cared.
While the visitors moaned that Zabaleta wasn't given a freekick for jumping into Craig Gardner play continued with the ball falling to Adam Johnson.
Johnson ran at David Silva who'd slotted into the Argentinean's position, and after a few nice looking step-overs to work some space and an angle he let fly from about 25-yards. Somehow the ball squirmed under Joe Hart and nestled nicely into the bottom corner to give us the lead.
It could and should have been 2-0 just a minute later when Stephane Sessegnon beat Matija Nastasic all ends up and cut onto his favoured right foot inside the area but screwed well wide. Sess had a half chance not long after that when he couldn't get on the end of McClean's cross with any meaningful contact.
With Sunderland well on top, it took until the 70th minute for City to muster a real chance at goal, although when Silva's through ball put Aguero in the clear and one-on-one with Mignolet, the Belgian came out on top with a magnificent save to keep things as they were.
As the game began to come to an end it was City having all the pressure but not carving out any chances - where as we were.
James Milner curled a freekick over the bar and substitute Edin Dzeko fired a tame effort at Simon Mignolet. That really was about it until the 93rd minute when Milner it was again who volleyed handsomely over the bar from the edge of the area. The Champions simply couldn't find a way past our solid defensive wall.
As for our chances, they both came with heavy involvement from substitute Fraizer Campbell. First he played in Sessegnon with his first touch of the ball but unfortunately for the Beninese international Joe Hart had come well off his line and made himself big to stop it.
Later after Sessegnon skipped to the byline the clearance fell only as far as the former Manchester United man who fired tamely at Hart.
Even James McClean got in on the act. Having been put through in a two-on-one situation he opted to shoot wide with Sessegnon better placed in the middle where he could have tapped in.
As Carlos Cuellar cleared a corner in the final seconds a roar like no other erupted in the Stadium Of Light as the final whistle blew.
An incredible result and performance, which looking back wasn't undeserved at all. We handled everything City could through at us and although we didn't finish any of the chances we created, we got a stroke of luck for our endeavour to earn a fantastic, and now traditional 1-0 win over City in the festive season.
We'll have more reaction and stuff from today's game right HERE in our Match Stream.