The Tyne Wear derby finished all square at one goal each after a pulsating second half in which both teams gave all they had. The first half had been shaded by Sunderland and they had the better chances in the game. Higginbottom drew first blood with a good header after 52 minutes but Milner equalized with a cross from outside the penalty area on the left after 65 minutes. Both goals were poor goals to give away.
Chopra then hit the cross bar with a header after 82 minutes and that’s when Sunderland could have won it. But in end a draw was probably a fair result, and each team gets something out of the first Tyne-Wear derby of the season. It was a hard fought pulsating game for the fans to watch.
The full match report follows:
It was a scrappy and tentative start start to the game with a few mistimed tackles early on .
15 mins – the first chance for Sunderland as Chopra puts a nice cross into the box but Ross Wallace on the left, puts the ball high over the bar – a half chance.
18 mins – a beautiful tacke by Faye as he takes the ball out of play on the right – Faye looks very strong at the back today
25 mins Norsworthy pulls a hamstring and Danny Collins, the Welshman, replaces him.
27 mins No team is on top since each seems to be nullifying the other right now
28 mins N’Zogbia put a beautiful cross over and Owen at the right hand post almost puts it home, but the ball is played out for a corner
31 mins – Newcastle pull out of defense quickly and Barton moves the ball through for Viduka, whose shot is blocked for a corner
33 mins – Harper makes a wonderful save from Chopra when he half blocks what looks like a certain goal, and from the follow-up Smith beautifully blocks the shot. Newcastle defended well but were lucky.
35 mins Faye is having a great game as he again cuts out a through ball from Sunderland, he’s exactly what Newcastle need today
37 mins Faye goes into the referee’s book for a foul on Jones – he was unlucky to get booked since it looked accidental
40 mins Newcastle need to get to half time with a clean sheet as Sunderland are coming forward
44 mins Harper makes a wonderful diving save to his left from a right foot shot from Michael Chopra, who has looked good for Sunderland
Half Time came with the teams very even for Sunderland shading the first half with more of the play and the better chances.
Play starts with no changes to either side.
47 mins â€“ Faye just clears a Sunderland attack â€“ heâ€™s had a stormer so far today â€“ keep it up
48 mins Harper saves a header from Jones following a cross into the box â€“ there was no power on the header
50 mins Viduka brilliantly beats 2 Sunderland defenders and crosses but Owen cannot get on the end of it as the ball flashes across the Sunderland goal
52 mins GOAL Danny Higginbottom heads home for Sunderland to put them ahead â€“ itâ€™s Higginbottomâ€™s first ever goal for Sunderland and some weak marking with 2 Newcastle defenders unable to get to the ball. Sunderland deserve their lead but Newcastle have to up the pace.
The goal came from a short free kick before the Newcastle defense could get organized and get back. Another poor goal to concede â€“ how often have you heard that this season. A break down in Newcastleâ€™s organization in defense.
Newcastle now have it all to do â€“ a defeat is unthinkable but it will surely make this game a great one form now on
56 mins Emre gets the ball from Barton about 30 yards out and smashes the ball over the cross-bar
58 mins Milner is brought down in the box but the referee Atkinson turns it down â€“ and it looks like he got it right
62 mins Faye goes off with a hamstring strain and is replaced by Habib Beye who goes to right back with Taylor slotting into the center
65 mins GOAL – an unbelievable goal from Milner â€“ he lashes the ball across the goal from outside the box and the ball ends up in the net â€“ where was the goalkeeper?
The ball travels low and goes in off a post and itâ€™s a bad goal for Sunderland to concede â€“ but it puts Newcastle right back in the game. It was a fairly lucky goal
66 mins â€“ Jones lashes the ball wide from a great chance â€“ he should have scored
68 mins Harper beautifully picks a cross out of the air under pressure from Jones â€“ Steveâ€™s having a solid game for Newcastle
69 mins Owen goes almost clear from Harpers resulting kick and he forces Gordon into a save low to his left
75 mins â€“ itâ€™s anybodyâ€™s game as both teams are attacking each other â€“ the next goal can be vital
80 mins â€“ the game is there for the taking if one of the sides can get a second goal â€“ everything to play for in the last 10 minutes
82 mins â€“ from a corner Chopra heads the ball against the cross bar â€“ where was Harper? The Newcastle defense scramble the ball away but Newcastle were lucky to get away with more poor defending
83 mins Martins replaces Owen who goes for a 6th game without a goal for Newcastle and England
90 mins The referee blows the final whistle and each side come away with a little respect
Sunderland: Craig Gordon, Nyron Nosworthy, Ian Harte, Danny Higginbottom, Paul McShane, Grant Leadbitter, Ross Wallace, Dickson Etuhu, Carlos Edwards, Michael Chopra, Kenwyne Jones
Subs: Anthony Stokes, Liam Miller, Darren Ward, Danny Collins, David Connolly
Newcastle: Steve Harper, Steven Taylor, Charles N’Zogbia, Abdoulaye Faye, David Rozehnal, James Milner, Alan Smith, Emre, Joey Barton, Michael Owen, Mark Viduka
Subs: Jose Enrique, Oba Martins, Geremi, Habib Beye, Fraser Forster
Referee: M Atkinson
Attendance: 48.000 sell out