Sunderland 1 – 1 Newcastle: Newcastle hampered by Tioté’s dismissal
A tight Tyneside derby finished 1-1 at the Stadium of Light in a game of few chances. Newcastle seized control after just three minutes thanks to a smart finish from Yohan Cabaye, as the French international made a great run from midfield and was rewarded as Simon Mignolet could only parry Demba Ba’s effort. He dispatched the loose ball into the bottom-left corner from 15 yards.
The visitors were in control of the game against a blunt Sunderland side when Cheick Tioté saw red 25 minutes in – despite already having won a free kick, he caught Steven Fletcher high on his shin with studs showing. Although not the most aggressive or dangerous challenge, it was high and Fletcher was lucky his foot wasn’t planted.
The visitors were not initially affected by their numerical disadvantage: Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson were excellent in defence, while Ben Arfa kept them moving forward and Ba lead the line well after Shola Ameobi’s withdrawal. Sunderland struggled to get into the game and their main threats, Adam Johnson and Fletcher, were being carefully marshalled by Newcastle.
The home side managed to apply concerted pressure for the first time in the last 15 minutes. Only Louis Saha had a clear opening, though, before Ba’s own-goal: a dangerous free kick delivered from the right by Sebastian Larsson was met by John O’Shea, whose header was going wide before it hit Ba, and left the wrong-footed Tim Krul with no chance. This levelled the scores with just four minutes to go.
Newcastle were then put under serious pressure by the rejuvenated home side, but Sunderland had left it too late to take advantage of their extra man, and had to settle for a point.
Both sides can be happy with the point. Sunderland under-performed on the day but will be pleased a late equaliser denied their rivals three points. While Newcastle may feel their performance deserved more, they will surely feel seeing out a draw away from home, with ten men for over an hour, is a point gained.
Ben Carey-Evans, football correspondent