Premier League - Newcastle win at Sunderland
Newcastle extended Sunderland’s poor run in North East derbies with a fiercely-fought 1-0 Premier League win at the Stadium of Light.
After withstanding a battering from Sunderland in the first half, Newcastle looked more composed after the break and went ahead on the 61 minutes when Ryan Taylor's fine free-kick from wide on the left caught keeper Simon Mignolet out of position and flew into the far corner.
Sunderland threw everything into attack, including giving new signing Connor Wickham a first run-out, but failed to create many clear chances, and their frustration was summed up when Phil Bardsley was sent off in the closing stages for a second bookable offence.
The first half was played at a frantic pace, with the home side taking the initiative from the start.
Jack Colback's raking cross from the left could have caused Newcastle problems if anyone had got on the end of it, and a minute late Stephane Sessegnon saw a 35-yard effort tipped over the bar by Tim Krul.
The first major talking point of the game, however, came at the other end of the pitch.
From a Newcastle corner, Shola Ameobi’s goal-bound header was given an extra touch by Joey Barton, but the ball struck the arm of Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson who still had his arm outstretched from where he had been defending the original corner on the line.
The contact was clear and Newcastle’s players demanded a penalty but after consulting his assistant, referee Howard Webb deemed it was accidental and awarded a corner instead.
Yohan Cabaye earned the first booking of the match for a crunching challenge on Bardsley shortly before the Frenchman showed the more acceptable side of his game with a rasping right-foot effort which was pushed over the bar.
Sunderland's Wes Brown and Newcastle's Ryan Taylor followed Cabaye into the referee's book before the break, but it was not a dirty game, just competitive in the most positive way.
After enduring a strong Sunderland assault in the first half, Newcastle seemed more composed in the second, and gradually increased the pressure before breaking the deadlock in stunning fashion just after the hour mark.
From a free-kick wide on the right, Ryan Taylor arrowed a shot into the far top corner, leaving Mignolet grasping at fresh air.
Bardsley earned his first booking for dissent following a crunching challenge by Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole, as did Newcastle's Barton, who had an uncharacteristically quiet game.
The visitors could sense Sunderland's increasing air of desperation and were happy to defend stoutly, whilst always keeping an eye on the counter-attacking options.
On one of these, Barton had the ball in the Sunderland net but the offside flag was already up.
With two minutes left, the home side were reduced to 10 men as Bardsley earned his second yellow card for a nasty studs-up challenge on Fabricio Coloccini, and with that disappeared any realistic chance of a Sunderland revival.
Mignolet did well to deny substitute Dan Gosling a second Newcastle goal, diving at his feet, and despite the best efforts of Sunderland's forwards, a failure to put real pressure on the Newcastle goal other than early in the game ended up costing them the points.