By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has hailed Shola Ameobi's dramatic Tyne-Wear derby equaliser as his favourite moment of the 2011/12 season.
On the eve of the campaign's final game - which sees United travel to Merseyside to take on Everton - Pardew was asked for his highlights from what has been an outstanding year with numerous of high points all along the way.
And for the boss there was only one winner - long-serving Ameobi's close-range injury-time strike against Sunderland at the start of March, which earned the Magpies a well-deserved point and continued their pursuit of the European places.
"There's been many highlights - we've had some fantastic goals," explained Pardew.
"But just for momentum and everything it meant, Shola's goal against Sunderland would probably be my favourite moment.
"It was such an important goal and we would have lost a lot of momentum if we had lost that game at home. And we deserved it, we deserved to win that game. It would have really hurt us to lost.
"My other highlight is the spirit we have within the group, which has been absolutely tremendous. Every day is a highlight, just coming into work with these guys."
Pardew was also quizzed as to what point he realised his United squad could become the Premier League's surprise package and make a real impact on the division.
"Early on when we put together that 13-game unbeaten run, that was an indication that there were a lot of things carried over from last year which were good," the boss replied.
"Also, the things we had introduced had improved us.
"We had the problem of the Africa Cup of Nations, which was going to affect us, but we managed to get through that period really well.
"The signing of Papiss boosted us again, and we've had various boosts along the way, but certainly that first period of the season indicated to me that we would have a good one."