Newcastle dodged a bullet yesterday and came out of the Tyne-Wear derby game with a creditable 1-1 draw.
But Sunderland had to score before Newcastle woke up and raised their game, and that was the disappointment with Newcastleâ€™s performance yesterday.
But after the last two defeats, yesterdayâ€™s game had some good points for Newcastle and to get a draw out of the game, when they were second best for long periods, is a credit to the side.
Abdoulaye Faye – played great game at the back for Newcastle yesterday
We thought Abdoulaye Faye had an outstanding game, especially in the first half and Steven Taylor is again showing the guts and determination that will one day make him into a great center-half at Newcastle.
Sunderland drew first blood when the defense was caught short by Sunderland after 52 minutes. The home side took a short corner quickly, and the following cross was well headed home by Danny Higginbotham, with the Newcastle defense still trying to sort themselves out. It was Danny’s first ever goal for Sunderland, what a time to score that one.
Newcastle responded well to the goal, and increased the pace of their game, because a defeat yesterday would have been just terrible (and that’s an understatement) and no doubt would have brought a press storm against Big Sam, because it would have meant 3 defeats in a row.
But Newcastle picked up their game, and then young James Milner out on the left leveled after 65 minutes. His hard-hit cross went in off the far post. Exactly where Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon was during this is a big question, and it was a bad goal for Sunderland to concede, when they were one up with just 25 minutes to go.
Then after 82 minutes Sunderland almost snatched the winner, when Newcastle-born Michael Chopra headed against the under-side of the cross bar, and Steven Taylor somehow cleared the danger. The ball rebounded off the cross bar down onto the line and it could so easily have been nudged in.
After Newcastleâ€™s equalizer it was anybodyâ€™s game, and it was a very exciting last 25 minutes for both sets of fans. Either side could have won it, but on the overall balance of play we have to say Sunderland were the better side on the day. Newcastle fans will be pleased with the point. After all, it was an away point, and the team played so much better than in the horror show against Portsmouth last week.
After the game both managers had good comments to make that we think reflected well on the game.
Sunderland boss Roy Keane said:
“We didn’t have that bit of luck today and we can talk all day about being unlucky but we keep getting these lessons in the Premier League and you have to take your chances.“
“We had chances to win the game and these things come back to haunt you.” ” But if we keep performing like that, we’ll be okay.
“In terms of work-rate and performance we were different class.” ” We worked extremely hard and I thought our performance was outstanding.”
Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce seemed fairly pleased with the result:
“The response after we conceded was very pleasing but I wanted to see that kind of performance before we went a goal down.
“When we scored I thought we might have gone on to win the match.”
“Sunderland out-muscled us and we could not get our passing game going. But a draw was a fair result and we are happy with a point away from home.”
Overall, it was an excellent derby game and a very good game to watch. For Newcastle fans we have to hope that this result will propel us further, although our next game at home to Liverpool will be a huge test. For Sunderland it was a good point, but this is not the first game they might have come away with all 3 points and didn’t. A couple of top players in January should make a big difference and we hope they will say up this season. We think they will.