Gavin McCann

Game of the Day: Watford 2 SAFC 3

by Ashley Houghton

McCann's winner seals victory in '99.

Watford 2 Sunderland 3

27th November 1999

Gavin McCann’s late winner sent Sunderland within two points of Manchester United at the top of the Premiership.

Having lost at Anfield a week earlier, Peter Reid’s side knew a win at Vicarage Road was vital if they were to stay in touch with the Red Devils and Leeds United, who occupied second place.

However, it was a nightmare start for the Black Cats as Xavier Gravelaine, who was sent off in the closing stages, picked out Michel Ngonge with a long pass from the right before the Watford striker skipped between two Sunderland defenders and crashed his shot into the top corner after just five minutes.

Kevin Phillips replied 20 minutes later - his shot needed a wicked deflection to take it past Watford keeper Alec Chamberlain.

Phillips needed no luck on the half-hour as he put his side ahead with a powerful close-range header from Nicky Summerbee’s cross.

The hosts forced themselves back into the match straight after the break when Paul Robinson appeared to be impeded by Darren Williams and Richard Johnson made no mistake with his spot-kick, sending Sorensen the wrong way.

McCann grabbed victory for Sunderland 20 minutes from time; latching on to Niall Quinn’s pass and bursting into the box before finishing sublimely.

Watford couldn’t find a way back into the game and their hopes were all but finished when Gravelaine was dismissed for a two-footed lunge on Williams.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Gray, Butler, Summerbee, Quinn, Phillips, Craddock, Williams, Schwarz, McCann, Roy.

Subs: Ball, Marriott, Rae, Thirlwell, Reddy.