Jermain Defoe knew missing was simply not an option after his stoppage-time penalty snatched a valuable 1-1 draw for Premier League strugglers Sunderland at Stoke City.
The hosts, who came into the match on the back of three consecutive heavy defeats, led five minutes after half-time when Austria international Marko Arnautovic smashed home from Peter Crouch’s knockdown.
Defoe carried the greatest goal threat for Sunderland and, as injury time ebbed away, he drew a foul from Geoff Cameron and coolly dispatched his spot kick, sparking delirium from the travelling Sunderland fans behind the goal.
Newcastle United’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace means Sunderland still slip back into the bottom three, one point from safety with a game in hand over their local rivals ahead of home matches against Chelsea and Everton.
“I thought we played well to be honest. We’ve come here to be solid and try to be ruthless on the counter-attack,” Defoe told Sky Sports News.
“It’s always a tough game when you come here. When you’re scrapping for results you need a little bit of luck and it’s nice to get the point at the end.”
On his nerve-shredding 14th Premier League goal of the season, Defoe said: “You haven’t got a choice, I had to score.
“When you get the penalty you just have to stay relaxed and score. I was nervous but when it hits the back of the net it’s a great feeling.
“We created one or two chances in the second half. I thought we played well.”