Many expected that Sunderland and Charlton Athletic would play out a tight and tetchy affair in the final of the Division One playoffs in 1998. After all, the two meetings between the sides earlier in the season had ended in draws, while the last seven matches and produced just seven goals.
What actually occurred at Wembley 16 years ago today couldn't have been further off-script.
Sunderland had been tipped to edge out the Addicks, largely because they had finished the season in third and missed out on promotion by a single point, but they started slowly under the famous Twin Towers. Charlton made the most of that as the deadlock was broken with 24 minutes on the clock.
Mark Bright flicked the ball on for his strike partner Clive Mendonca, who having been born in Sunderland, was a boyhood supporter of the Black Cats. He put any allegiance to one side, though, as he turned sharply inside the area and then fired past Lionel Perez.
Peter Reid's Sunderland remained sluggish throughout the rest of the first half, but moments after they restart, they were level. Niall Quinn darted towards the near post to meet Nicky Summerbee's corner and from there the Republic of Ireland international was able to squeeze his header inside Sasa Ilic's upright.
Quinn then blazed wildly over from close range, but his blushes were spared in the 58th minute by Kevin Phillips. The unmarked striker drew Ilic off his line, before lifting an effort over the stranded Charlton goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.
Charlton's response to falling behind was a positive one and they were rewarded in the 71st minute when Mendonca bagged his second goal of the afternoon. Keith Jones was the creator, lofting a pass into the centre-forward's path, which allowed him the time and space to fire beyond Perez's reach.
That elation would last for less than 60 seconds, though, as Sunderland regained the lead. Lee Clark swung over a cross for Quinn, who controlled the ball on his chest. Despite a narrowing angle, the tall centre-forward then lashed a low shot through Ilic's legs and into the goal.
Yet, with just four minutes of normal time remaining, Charlton once again restored parity, thanks largely to Sunderland keeper Perez. The Frenchman raced out to try to meet John Robinson's corner, but he misjudged the flight of the ball and was duly punished when Charlton centre-back Richard Rufus headed into an empty net.
It was a goal that forced the contest into extra-time, which saw Sunderland gain the initiative for a third time in the 99th minute. Michael Gray and Quinn exchanged passes to open up the chance for Summerbee to shoot low into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area.
However, the Wearsiders could not hold on as Mendonca ensured that a penalty shootout would be required to determine who would earn promotion to the Premier League. Having controlled Steve Jones's cross, the Sunderland supporter volleyed in from eight yards out to complete his hat-trick. It would turn out to be the last trio of goals scored by one player at the old Wembley.
In keeping with the game, there was very little to split the teams from 12 yards. The first 13 kicks had been converted successfully when Sunderland full-back Gray stepped up to keep his team in contention for a place in the top flight. Ilic guessed correctly, though, diving to his left to keep out Gray's tame effort, which lifted the South Londoners into the Premier League in the process.
SUNDERLAND: Perez; Holloway (Makin), Craddock, Williams, Gray; Summerbee, Clark (Rae), Ball, Johnston; Quinn, Phillips (Dichio)
CHARLTON: Ilic; Mills (Robinson), Rufus, Youds, Bowen; K Jones, Newton, Kinsella; Heaney (S Jones), Mendonca, Bright (Brown)