Derby day

Sunderland 1 Newcastle 1

by James, Junior Black Cats reporter

Ba saves Black Cats.

A last gasp Demba Ba own goal saved Sunderland from derby defeat on Wearside.

Sunderland’s poor record at the SoL on derby day looked set to continue after only 120 seconds of play. James McClean slipped on the ball, allowing NUFC danger man Hatem Ben Arfa to have a free run at Sunderland’s defence. 

The Frenchman passed the ball to Demba Ba who, from a tight angle, brought a good save from Mignolet. However, the ball fell right to Yohan Cabaye who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to give Newcastle the lead. During the course of the whole game, neither keeper was really tested, however, Sunderland did come close from two free kicks. 

Seb Larsson and Craig Gardner both saw their shots almost squeeze into the bottom right corner. Adam Johnson had a good chance but his back post effort was blazed over. Newcastle came close with shots from  Ba and Cabaye. Then came the real turning point in the game: After the ref blew for a Newcastle free kick, Cheick Tiote kicked out at Steven Fletcher after the Scotsman had tackled him. 

The Ivorian caught Fletcher in the shin with his studs and was given a red card. This forced a reorganisation with Ameobi off, replaced by James Perch, a midfielder.  Demba Ba was left up front by himself in the second half and got little possession of the ball.

The only test on Mignolet’s goal in the second half was a close range shot from Ba, which never had the legs on it to reach the back of the net. Louis Saha came on for Sessegnon and immediately had two good chances. Krul, back in goal after a short injury absence, dropped James McClean’s shot and the ball almost fell to the ex-Geordie loanee. 

His other chance was a back post shot which ruffled the side netting. Craig Gardner had some more deflected shots and looked dangerous in the heart of midfield, but it was Seb Larsson who would cut the well-structured Newcastle back four open.

On 84 minutes, Larsson whipped a free kick in and John O’Shea rose above anybody else to get his head on the ball which luckily deflected off talisman Ba and into the Newcastle net, cueing wild celebrations from the 45,000 passionate Sunderland fans (along with O’Neill!), with the 2,500 Newcastle fans falling silent.

The Black Cats next game is away at Stoke and many fans will be hoping that the off-form attacking trio of Adam Johnson, Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean will be firing on all cylinders when Sunderland take the trip to the Britannia. Sunderland will be hoping for a good result to take into the Wear-Tees Capital One Cup game against Middlesbrough on 30th October.

Sunderland’s starting line-up:
Simon Mignolet, Craig Gardner, Danny Rose, John O’Shea, Carlos Cuellar, Sebastian Larsson, Jack Colback, Adam Johnson, James McClean, Stephane Sessegnon, Steven Fletcher