Black Cats Claw Points Away From Magpies
Sunderland travelled to St James’ Park on Sunday, a ground where they had not lost since October 2010, and snatched a late winner through Adam Johnson despite being outplayed by Newcastle for most of the game.
Neither side went into the fixture in great form up front so it never looked to be a high scoring affair and only one goal was needed to separate the two in the end.
The Magpies completely dominated the first half, crafting a number of opportunities for themselves, however, it was Sunderland who came closest to scoring.
First, Steven Fletcher hit the crossbar and then Connor Wickham found himself unmarked in the box but the young striker could not get enough power into the headed chance.
Gus Poyet’s side had only won twice all season with 10 draws under their belt so they were always going to be tough to break down and it looked as though another tied result was on the cards.
After the interval, the first bit of blood was spilt in battle. Steven Taylor dived into his own upright in an attempt to keep Fletcher out and burst open his cheek which briefly delayed proceedings.
The remainder of the game was very much end-to-end with both sides creating ample scoring opportunities but neither was able to find the back of the net.
A pattern began to emerge with Newcastle doing all the talking while the visitors punctuated the script through regular counter attacks.
As with any correct sentence, the punctuation mark has the last say and that is exactly the way it played out. Sunderland hit the home side on the counter and boyhood Newcastle fan, Adam Johnson buried the winner with only seconds of normal time remaining.
Sunderland have now won four successive Tyne-Wear derbies, scoring nine and conceding just once.
The introduction of Costel Pantilimon in goal has played a major part in rejuvenation of the struggling Black Cats who have now kept four clean sheets in their last six outings.
The win sees Sunderland climb to fourteenth on the Premier League table with Hull City next on the agenda on Boxing Day while Newcastle will need to pick themselves up before their next meeting with Manchester United.