Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sunderland 1 Newcastle 1

Sunderland 1

Gyan 90+ 4

Newcastle 1

Nolan 52

A fortuitous last minute Asamoah Gyan equaliser yesterday denied Newcastle United all three points in the northeast derby. And whilst the away side should certainly have won the game, their determination to unnecessarily waste time by exploiting the slightest challenge to go to ground and seek the trainers attention ultimately cost them when the officials added five minutes at the end of the game.

Keeper Steve Harper should also have done better with Phil Bardsley’s shot, pushing it back into the goalmouth area where an onrushing Gyan’s desire to get the ball was rewarded when it cannoned of his knee and somehow bounced into the net for his seventh league goal of the season.

Ecstatic as the Sunderland fans might have been there was however no excuse when Harper was then assaulted by a pitch invader, although thankfully the Newcastle number 1 was unhurt. Sunderland though can rightly expect action to be taken against them, especially as one minute later when the final whistle blew there were ugly scenes as both sets of supporters ripped up seats and threw them at each other.

Having been thrashed 5-1 at St James’ Park Sunderland needed to start well, but should have been a goal down on just three minutes when Joey Barton’s long ball flew high over Anton Ferdinand and Titus Bramble only for Shola Ameobi to flash his shot from 15 yards just past Craig Gordon’s pass. After such a poor miss Steve Bruce’s side should have taken the lead when fastening onto Steed Malbranque’s pass Darren Bent cut inside, and beat for the only time in the game, Farbricio Colocinni to fire his shot straight at Harper.

Sunderland were then grateful to Kieran Richardson when, standing on the line, he prevented Colocinni’s shot from giving the away side the lead. Soon after though the unmarked Ameobi should have given Gordon no chance when rising high he powered his header from eight yards just over the bar, thus ensuring the half-time whistle sounded at 0-0.

It took the away side just seven minutes after the restart to open the scoring. Bent had missed a decent half chance and his side suffered for it when from a Barton corner Ameobi battered Ferdinand out of the way, and Kevin Nolan touched his downward header into the net for his fourth goal against Sunderland this season. Queue ecstatic celebrations amongst the travelling 3,00o army.

Within a minute Newcastle might have doubled their advantage when Leon Best was only inches away from converting Jose Enrique’s fine cross. Yet with Barton and Nolan dominating Richardson and the disappointing Jordan Henderson in the middle of the park there seemed little chance of the Wearsiders profiting from Newcastle’s failure to rap up the game.

The Tynesiders though are not a great team. And by preferring to try and hold what they had rather than grab a killer second goal they ultimately paid the penalty when Gyan scored and probably ensured that whilst the Geordies have bragging rights in the derby games it will be the Wearsiders who come the seasons end will confirm they are the northeast’s best side by again finishing higher in the Premier League.

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