Pools Newcastle United-mad star Steve Howard sinks Sunderland

GOAL HERO: Steve Howard
GOAL HERO: Steve Howard

MATCH-winning Geordie Steve Howard admits he will cherish his first-ever goal against Sunderland.

The 36-year-old’s ninth-minute strike proved the difference between Pools and the Black Cats during last night’s well-contested friendly at Victoria Park.

And for Newcastle United nut Howard, the identity of the opposition made his evening all the sweeter.

“It’s nice to score in any game – but against them is even better, I just wish it was in the Premier League,” the big striker told SportMail today.

“Everyone knows I’m a massive Newcastle fan and that was the first time I’ve scored against them, so I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good.

“I had quite a few messages and calls waiting for me afterwards from my mates as well, so I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it.”

Howard’s goal was just reward for an enterprising start from the hosts and it arrived when Titus Bramble misjudged a long clearance downfield, allowing the Pools man to steal in.

And he reflected: “I knew Titus had missed the flight of the ball and I thought ‘I’ve got a chance here’.

“I managed to bustle him off it and I was in.

“But with the pitch being hard and sticky the ball was bouncing all over the place.

“I was waiting for it to come down and just thought ‘keep it low’.

“I did that and it’s went straight through his legs.”

The low blast was Howard’s first since returning to the club earlier this month and it secured a first win of the summer for Neale Cooper’s men.

But the former Leicester City powerhouse believes it was a well-deserved triumph.

“I thought it was a very organised performance and we looked fit,” said Howard, who had appeared just 48 hours earlier during the feisty 1-1 draw at Whitby Town.

“I’ll be sore after two games in three days but I’m getting there and the more games the better.

“You need those games against Whitby and it was certainly physical.

“But to come and play against a quality side like Sunderland is a different test and we did very well and deserved the win.”