Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

George: Let's Make It a Fan-Tastic Night!

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

George: Let's Make It a Fan-Tastic Night!

Article excerpt

Byline: By James Hunter

George McCartney reckons the Sunderland fans will play a key role tonight as the Black Cats look to book their place in the First Division play-off final.

Sunderland take on Crystal Palace at the Stadium of Light in the second leg of their semi-final, the Londoners leading 3-2 after Friday's first leg at Selhurst Park.

But the Wearsiders will have a near full-house roaring them on as they aim to overturn Palace's lead and earn a trip to Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on May 29 and a clash against West Ham United or Ipswich Town.

The 3,000 fans who travelled to London gave their side tremendous backing and McCartney is expecting a similar white-hot atmosphere.

He said: "The atmosphere was fantastic down there and we need the same again tonight."

A late Andy Johnson goal gave Palace the advantage at what is effectively half-time in the tie - but McCartney insists the contest is far from over.

He said: "We scored two goals against Palace away from home so hopefully we can do the same at the Stadium of Light and this time keep things tighter at the back.

"We scored twice and could have got maybe another couple - Carl Robinson went close and John Oster hit the post.

"We were very disappointed to lose. We went down to Palace with the aim of keeping a clean sheet and maybe nicking a goal or two but that did not happen.

"The lads were a bit down in the dressing room after the match but there is not much between the sides.

"We gave away two disappointing goals and we were also unlucky with the free-kick which deflected off Phil Babb and went in.

"You need a bit of luck in the play-offs and Palace got it on Friday - hopefully it will be our turn for good fortune tonight.

"Andy Johnson is the top scorer in the First Division and he showed in the first leg how sharp he is if you give him a yard of space. …

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