Premier League - Ameobi rescues derby point for Newcastle
The stalwart striker netted the seventh Tyne-Wear derby goal of his career to claim a share of the spoils in the 134th league instalment of this fixture.
For so long Sunderland looked like claiming a first win on Tyneside in over a decade courtesy of Nicklas Bendtner's first-half penalty.
Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet then saved a spot-kick with eight minutes remaining from Demba Ba to put the Black Cats on the verge of a first victory away to their local rivals on the road since November 2000 before Ameobi struck in the first of five added minutes.
Sunderland played most of the second half with 10 men due to Stephane Sessegnon's being sent off in a game that saw 10 cards in total.
The draw means Newcastle remain in sixth but move two points behind fifth-placed Chelsea, while Sunderland were denied the chance to move up to eighth place at the death.
The tone was set after just 39 seconds when Sunderland's midfielder enforcer Lee Cattermole was booked for a nasty scissor tackle on his Newcastle counterpart, Cheick Tiote. Referee Mike Dean could just as easily have shown a red card, but instead showed Cattermole his 10th yellow card of the season, but in any event he ended up showing the midfielder a red after the final whistle.
Dean was kept very busy, dishing out four more bookings by the midway point of the first half, but he managed to stay on top of what was a largely rough and combustible affair.
The Wirral official did well to spot Mike Williamson clearly pulling Michael Turner's shirt inside the Newcastle box on 23 minutes and pointed to the spot. Goalkeeper Tim Krul dived the right way, but Bendtner's low strike into the far corner was too good for him to reach it. That spot-kick was Bendtner's fourth league goal for Sunderland, and he has now scored in each of his last three appearances on Tyneside.
Sunderland organisation at the back and pressing further forward ensured they continued to have the better of the first half. Bendtner tried to surprise Krul with a snap half-volley on the turn, but this time the Dutch keeper was equal to it.
It took Newcastle until five minutes from half-time to register a significant effort on goal when Fabricio Coloccini's header from a corner was parried by Mignolet. Just before the break, Ba exploited Sunderland's zonal marking to find space and crash a header off the bar from a Ryan Taylor set piece, with Coloccini firing his follow-up effort over.
That was manifested in the way Ba, such a peripheral figure in the first half, had two great chances right after the restart, but neither his glancing header nor his turn and shot from the edge of the box were on target.
What felt like a pivotal moment in the game came just before the hour mark, first Krul made a heroic double-save, first parrying Bendtner's shot before blocking James McClean's effort on the rebound.
Moments later, Sessegnon was shown a straight red card for striking Tiote with an elbow to the chest. Tiote's reaction was delayed and excessive, but Sessegnon's actions justified his first red card in English football.
Newcastle had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down after Turner handled in the area, but they were eventually given a chance from 12 yards after substitute Fraizer Campbell's over-enthusiasm led to him fouling Ameobi in the box.
Mignolet denied Ba from the spot, getting a strong hand to the spot-kick low to his left. However, he was beaten in stoppage time when Peter Lovenkrands's flick-on fell to Ameobi at the far post and the 30-year-old finished at the near post to see Tyneside explode with relief as much as joy.