Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gooch Seizes Chance to Show He Is Back to Form; A Confident Gooch Takes His Chance to Impress

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gooch Seizes Chance to Show He Is Back to Form; A Confident Gooch Takes His Chance to Impress

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER Football writer stuart.rayner@reachplc.com

LIKE his team, Lynden Gooch was able to take a much-needed confidence boost from Sunderland's playoff semi-final first leg against Portsmouth.

The Black Cats went into the game on the back of one win in seven but Gooch's form was even more dismal and prolonged, having struggled since before Christmas to reproduce the performances which made him a key figure in the early part of the campaign.

Only drafted into the side when Aiden McGeady pulled out of the warm-up, Gooch played an important part in a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light.

The American, who has signed a new contract and became a father during his difficult run, said: "I've been out of form for a while, I've been under scrutiny from the fans a lot and rightly so, they know what I am capable of and what I can bring on my day.

"Unfortunately I've not been able to play at my best like at the start of the season.

"That's been really frustrating for me but on Saturday I thought I did well considering I came into the side late. I created some good opportunities for us to score.

"I was really enjoying it every time I got the ball and was running at them and creating chances.

"On another day I could have had a couple of assists but the main thing was getting the win."

McGeady broke a bone in his foot in the 3-0 win at Accrington Stanley Turn to Page 45 FROM BACK PAGE in early April. He missed the next two matches, then returned until it became clear he was not going to be able to help the Wearsiders to automatic promotion.

Having only returned to training on Friday after nearly a fortnight off, McGeady was named in Saturday's team but quickly realised the painkilling injections which got him through games against Coventry City, Doncaster Rovers, Peterborough United and Portsmouth were not as effective on Saturday.

At that point, Gooch was called up.

He added: "I found about 10 minutes into the warm-up but I knew there was a slight chance that Chris (Maguire) or I could be involved if Geads was struggling. …

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