Bruised defender glad to take point.
A battered and bruised John O’Shea was left to reflect on a hard-earned derby point after the Stadium of Light witnessed late drama.
The defender was left nursing a swollen face after taking a knock on his nose during the 1-1 draw with Newcastle at the Stadium of Light.
I helped it towards goal, thankfully their defence dropped deeper than usual and the ball fell in
- John O'Shea
But the former Manchester United man’s mood was lightened after he played a key role in the late equaliser which secured a point for Martin O’Neill’s side.
Yohan Cabaye’s early opener was cancelled out by an own goal from Demba Ba five minutes from time as the striker diverted O’Shea’s header into his own net.
“If you can’t keep a high line on wide free-kicks then there’s always a chance the ball can flick in off someone if you get a touch,” he said afterwards.
“I helped it towards goal, thankfully their defence dropped deeper than usual and the ball fell in.”
It had looked as if the Magpies might hold out under intense pressure following Cheick Tiote’s 24th-minute dismissal.
They were eventually undone when Ba headed into his own net but O’Shea admitted the visitors made things difficult for his side.
“When you’re 1-0 down in a derby game and the clock keeps ticking away, you want to get that equaliser as quickly as you can,” he said.
“It was so frustrating because we were on top possession-wise but didn’t really create many clear-cut chances.
“Of course, it can be difficult against 10 men because the sending-off galvanized them to keep their shape so much better.
“We found it hard to break them down.”
The result ensures Sunderland remain unbeaten at home this season but O’Shea says there is room for improvement, adding:
“We needed to move the ball a lot quicker in the second half, and while we did that in stages it wasn’t enough to get the equalising goal quicker.
“If we had scored sooner I think we would have gone on to win the game.
“We’ve had a decent return at home so far, but believe me everyone in the dressing room was desperate to win this one.
“It was disappointing to go down 1-0 so early because we needed a good start and that’s something we’ll have to improve on.”