Abdoulaye Faye – has been a rock in the first half, at the heart of the Newcastle defense
In a very keenly fought first half the scores were level at 0-0 at half time in the Tyne-Wear derby. Sunderland had the better chances in the first half and Steve Harper has made two wonderful saves to keep Newcastle in the game.
Newcastle are relying on the quick counter-attack to try to get Sunderland short at the back and 3-4 good quick attacks from Newcastle hasn’t produced anything, although Owen did have a half chance at the right hand post.
Newcastle will need to up the tempo in the second half if they are going to get a win out of this game. The defense has looked solid and defended well so far against the threat of the Sunderland attack, especially against the dangerous Jones.
It’s all to play for in the second half but Sunderland just shaded the first half in terms of play and chances.
But this is a game Newcastle can still win – but they need to up the tempo – and come out in another gear in the second half.
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
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