Sunday 21 October 1.30pm
Newcastle United 1 (Cabaye 2)
It isn’t a surprise to see the ref getting his cards out in a derby match but when he manages to give Newcastle four yellows and a red but nothing for Sunderland, I think it is worth a second look.
Tiote’s was hardly a reckless lunge with both players having their foot up, particularly as the Ivory Coast midfielder was already off balance with Colback all over him. Ironic that Newcastle ended up with Tiote off and Coloccini a yellow, yet Newcastle got the free-kick. In isolation Tiote deserved a card but I would argue yellow, it is particularly ridiculous though when Larsson had already stuck his studs in Shola’s chest but the cards stayed in Martin Atkinson’s pocket.
To the ten remaining players’ credit though they instantly reorganised to try and make up for the one man disadvantage. Williamson had one of his most composed games after the surprise inclusion at the expense of the fit again Taylor, while Coloccini was nothing short of outstanding.
You can’t sum up the match any better than to say that even against ten men it took a Newcastle player to score for the mackems.
The first twenty five minutes had seen Newcastle looking in total control after Yohan Cabaye’s excellent second minute goal had put the black and whit…lime greens ahead.
Shola had justified his inclusion by forcing the save from Mignolet that came back out for Cabaye to finish but along with the thirteen other players he will feel hard done by that his/their efforts didn’t equal three points.
Six minutes left and the latest of god knows how many hopeful free-kicks was launched into the box and O’Shea’s flick header was going wide, only for Demba Ba to inadvertently divert it past Tim Krul.
This brought back memories of Nolan putting Newcastle into the lead down their place only for Gyan to score with a rebound he knew nothing about.
The fact Krul hadn’t really had a save to make up until that point is credit to Newcastle’s hard work and composure despite going a man down.
We might have lost two points on the day but we may just have found our team spirit and proof that rumours of Newcastle’s demise were just a little premature.
Ba and Cabaye ran themselves into the ground and deserved better, indeed that combination almost put Newcastle two up only for O’Shea to just do enough after the Frenchman’s outstanding through ball. Demba was also unlucky with an acrobatic overhead kick that whistled over the bar.
Ironically the home side’s best player isn’t even a fully signed up member of the squad. On-loan Danny Rose kept Ben Arfa quiet and showed the most class going forward (which wasn’t difficult) after his bad experience in Serbia with England Under 21s.
The three poiints would have been a massive statement but surely Newcastle can take this moral victory and great team performance as a springboard for the upcoming matches.Still early days if they can build on this.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Cuellar, O’Shea, Rose, Johnson (Vaughan 83), Larsson, Colback, McClean, Sessegnon (Saha 65), Fletcher
Newcastle United: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini (Steven Taylor 79), Santon, Ben Arfa (Obertan 84), Tiote, Cabaye, Jonas, Ba, Shola (Perch 39)
Unused Subs: Harper, Ferguson, Anita, Cisse
Referee/Sunderland 12th Man: Martin Atkinson