Easter Moan-day – Looking Back To When Peterborough Ruined Our Bank Holiday Weekend

Sunderland's automatic promotion hopes were effectively ended with a 1-1 draw at Peterborough in 2019 - now, with the stakes just as high, Michael Lough hopes for a better result this time around

Easter is great, for most of us it is four days off work, a long weekend of live sport and a fantastic weekend of pints.

If you are of a religious persuasion, it is also about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which gives media outlets the opportunity to talk about promotion hopes dying, or teams who look dead and buried resurrecting their chances of staying alive.

In recent years, this weekend has not been kind to us, in 1998 our hopes of automatic promotion all but died after back-to-back draws against Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion.

In 2018, we looked dead and buried before beating Derby County 4-1 out of nowhere, John O’Shea got on the score sheet and the humiliation was such that Richard Keough was dropped for Derby’s next game after over a hundred consecutive appearances.

Sadly, this was a flash in the pan and just three days later we were beaten by Sheffield Wednesday to put one of the final nails in our relegation coffin.

A year later, we were at least competing at the right end of the table as we headed into a clash with Doncaster Rovers.

Despite still having destiny in our own hands, confidence levels were low across Wearside on the back of a 5-4 home defeat to Coventry and an uninspiring draw against Burton Albion.

But as is typical of Sunderland, just when we were about ready to give up on them, they produced a confident display and beat Doncaster 2-0 in the Good Friday sun.

The promotion race felt alive again, returning to work on Tuesday seemed a lifetime away and The Fire Station’s superb selection of lagers added to the increasingly positive vibes.

As Monday rolled around, optimism was still very much in the air as 4,500 Sunderland fans descended on Peterborough, a win would keep our destiny in our own hands with just three games remaining.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t part of the travelling red and white army and had to make do with watching it in the local pub.

After the excess of the previous Friday, this was a more dignified affair as just three of us in the back room chose to take in the game.

The pub was so quiet that the landlord watched most of the match with us, as Sunderland failed to break the hosts down.

But then, in the 88th minute the ball sat up nicely for Max Power who drove the ball into the corner and suddenly, it was back on.

The scenes at London Road were electric, a smoke bomb went off and the joy on the faces of the fans were representative of a fanbase who, in that moment thought that we had a real possibility of clinching promotion.

All we had to do was hang on for a few more minutes, naturally we could not even manage that.

From a personal viewpoint, I was even more annoyed than I should have been as a middle-aged man walked through from the main bar area and announced that Peterborough had just equalised.

For the next thirty seconds, all I could do was watch the delayed stream for confirmation that we had indeed conceded, and that the aforementioned gentleman hadn’t been making some kind of strange joke.

The seconds felt like hours as I watched on with slightly open-mouthed horror like a child who has just knocked his mam’s favourite vase off the mantlepiece and can only watch as it tumbles to the floor.

The second the ball hit the back of the net, I simply stood up and drained the slightly flat Coors I’d been nursing throughout the second half and walked home, glowering at anyone who dared to smile or show any sign of outward happiness.

They had ruined my weekend yet again and from then on, our season completely petered out.

Whatever the result tomorrow, the consequences will not be as severe as they were on Easter Monday two years ago, but a win would see us enter the top two with games in hand.

Please just win lads.

Michael Lough