Adam Johnson thought Joe Hart had saved his winning goal for Sunderland

Johnson scored the only goal against his former side Manchester City

Adam Johnson has admitted he thought old friend Joe Hart had denied him his moment of glory as Sunderland extended their impressive record against Manchester City.

The 25-year-old winger stood with his hands on his head on the pitch at the Stadium of Light yesterday after his England international team-mate had hurled himself across goal in an attempt to keep out his dipping left-foot strike.

Hart got to the ball after initially appearing to be wrong-footed, but several seconds elapsed before it came clear that he had been unable to prevent it from creeping under him and into the bottom corner to spark belated celebrations by Johnson and his team-mates.

The Sunderland man said: "I know Harty is probably the best keeper in the world and I have seen him many a time save those.

"I thought he had saved it and it had gone under him and around the side of the post, not in the net. I couldn't see the ball because he was covering it.

"But obviously when the crowd cheered, I knew it was in and that's when I realised. It all happened so quickly."

Johnson scored his first City goal against Sunderland on Wearside in March 2010 to snatch a 1-1 draw after coming on as a substitute, and he admitted there might have been an element of fate about his latest contribution to the fixture.

He said: "It's crazy, isn't it, how football works? I scored the equaliser for City and to come back now and score the winner for Sunderland against City, it's just how it works, football.

"It was in the script, I suppose."

Johnson's decisive intervention came eight minutes into the second half of a game in which Sunderland at times had to defend for dear life with keeper Simon Mignolet turning in yet another superb individual display.

He needed the help of the crossbar to keep out Vincent Kompany's early header, but he denied Yaya Toure from the follow-up and later David Silva, and after Johnson had struck, went one-on-one with Sergio Aguero and again came out on top.

The visitors may not have been at their clinical best - manager Roberto Mancini later accused them of being "too soft" in front of goal - but the Black Cats gave as good as they got for long periods and had it not been for Hart, who saved well from Steven Fletcher before the break and misses by Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean after it, they might have won more comfortably.

Johnson said: "Whoever they [City] play, they are always going to get chances and they are going to create things with the players they have.

"But we stood strong and we battled hard and Simon made a couple of great saves.

"But we gave them as good as they gave us. We created a lot of chances and Harty made a couple of good saves for them.

"Overall, we definitely deserved something and we will take the three points.

"It just shows the quality of the players in the squad that they are not losing games very often, and we are just delighted to beat the champions. It's a massive win for us."

Individually, Johnson turned arguably his best display yet in a red and white shirt following his £10million summer switch, combining his attacking duties with helping out at the back.

He said: "When you play for Sunderland, obviously there's a bit more onus on you to do a bit more defensive work. When you are at City, you have the ball a lot more and you can afford to play higher and not do as much defensive work.

"But I am bringing that back into my game from my Middlesbrough days. I have got to defend a lot more and I am definitely getting better and fitter at that.

"The main thing I want to do is attack and score goals, but I will never forget my defensive duties."

PA

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'