Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Johnson the hero as late strike wins Tyne-Wear epic

first_imgAdam Johnson struck a last-minute winner to secure victory for Sunderland in an epic Tyne-Wear derby against fierce rivals Newcastle United.It was a frantic clash at St James’ Park, with both sides having a host of chances and referee Anthony Taylor having plenty to do as the tackles flew in.But, just as the Magpies pushed for a winner in the closing stages, Johnson capped off a late counter-attack with a furious finish, sealing the Black Cats’ fourth consecutive win over their derby rivals.It’s a tie famed for rarely finishing with all 22 men on the pitch, and Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole wasted no time in setting the tone for the clash by upending Daryl Janmaat with a charging tackle after just ten seconds and, remarkably, escaped without a booking.And Magpies captain Fabricio Coloccini was very lucky to then avoid an early sending off when he led with his knee as he flew into the back of Steven Fletcher, with the Argentine defender only handed a yellow card much to Gus Poyet’s outrage.In a frenetic opening period, the hosts started on the front foot with Sammy Ameobi and Moussa Sissoko driving into the Black Cats’ box.But it was Sunderland who had the best chance to open the scoring, Sebastian Larsson sending a brilliant 35-yard Hollywood pass over the top for Fletcher, with the Scot beating his man but crashing a first-time volley against the crossbar.Amid the host of chances for both sides, referee Taylor was certainly kept busy, dishing out bookings to five players in the opening half alone, including Jack Colback, who hacked down former team-mate Jordi Gomez in his first game against Sunderland since switching for Newcastle in the summer.Meanwhile, the visitors maintained pressure on the hosts with Connor Wickham stinging the gloves of Jak Alnwick with a fierce long-range drive, the rookie goalkeeper just managing to tip the strike around his post.And the furious pace continued with Magpies forward Ayoze Perez starting to cause Sunderland problems at the back, firing a curling effort from 25 yards just past the post and then forcing Sebastian Coates into a decent last-ditch tackle.But the momentum was forever changing at St James’ Park, with Alnwick again forced into a save from Wickham’s towering header and the striker then dribbling a shot just wide just before the break.The second-half began in the same fashion as the first, and there was drama shortly after the restart when Newcastle were reduced, temporarily, to ten men.Steven Taylor was forced off for stitches after colliding with the post as he heroically denied Sunderland the opener, heading Wickham’s cross away on the goal line with Fletcher ready and waiting to dash in.Strangely, as the game continued, Pardew decided to wait for the defender to make his way back rather than making the change.Sunderland failed to make their short-lived man advantage count as ten minutes later Taylor eventually returned, with Gomez guilty of a shocking miss as he, under no pressure, shanked a shot horribly wide from the centre of the box after patient build-up play from the Black Cats.Gus Poyet’s side soon had goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon to thank for a superb save that kept the hosts in the contest, the former Manchester City man getting his fingertips to Perez’s curling effort which seemed destined for the top corner.In another feisty period, Magpies substitute Adam Armstrong broke through but hit tamely at Pantilimon, while Johnson missed another great chance for the Black Cats when he slid a shot poorly past the far post after deceiving his marker with a neat turn in the box.Desperate not to become the first Newcastle manager to slump to four derby defeats in a row, Pardew introduced both Papiss Cisse, who didn’t start the game due to illness, and Remy Cabella in the final 15 minutes.The changes made a difference as the hosts dominated the closing stages looking for that winning goal, but instead it was heartbreak for the Toon Army as, after Pantilimon denied Sissoko from long-range, Sunderland broke.Newcastle twice attempted to halt the move with fouls but desire kept the Black Cats moving, with Will Buckley’s lay-off hammered in by Johnson in the 90th minute to send the away end, together with manager Poyet on the touchline, into raptures. Sunderland celebrate Adam Johnson’s winner against Newcastle 1last_img

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