The tone of the game was set in the first minute at St. James’ Park today as madman Lee Cattermole, who is one one of the most dangerous players playing the game, lunged in with a ridiculous tackle on Cheick Tiote.
Shola Ameobi – after scoring equalizer in stoppage time
Lee got a yellow card for that and behaved himself after that – well most of the time – but he got a straight red card after the final whistle blew, after a verbal exchange with the referee and his assistants.
Cattermole hasn’t got a leg to stand on with any appeal, but Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill said after the match he was upset that in the second half, most of the referee decisions went Newcastle’s way.
Lee will get a three match ban if that’s the best defense they can come up.
Sunderland were the better side in the first half, but Newcastle were much better in those final 45 minutes and really should have won the game but for a Demba Ba penalty miss.
But we saw something of the best of Newcastle after the break, with Ben Arfa outstanding, after it seemed the Sunderland players seemed to go out to try to upset the Newcastle players in that first half, with disruptive play and strong tackles.
Alan Pardew was delighted with the second half performance, and especially with Ben Arfa, as had this to say to nufcTV after the game:
“I’m absolutely delighted with my team. We showed real courage and determination to turn that around,” “The opposition came here to unsettle us and the first tackle set the tone – Cattermole smashed Cheick to try and disrupt him – and we got sucked into that in the first half.
“We didn’t play any football. It was just a physical war and they were better than us at that.” “But in the second half we came, played our game and forgot about all that, and we absolutely bossed them and something was going to give.”
“Once their guy was sent off it was just about were we going to get two goals, were we going to get time?” “We missed a penalty but still we didn’t lie down. That could have been a body blow.”
“And up steps our man again – Shola Ameobi – and what a fantastic person he is. He scores again and just reminds us all how important he is to the team.”
“This guy Ben Arfa is exceptional. I don’t want our fans to start thinking I don’t think this is a good player.” “He is special and we have got to get him on the pitch.”
“I’ve got to find a way of getting him on the pitch to play like that, because that was his best 45 minutes.” “We’ve got 11 games to go and he can cause some real damage. He was the big difference between the sides in terms of the technical quality.”
“You need a technical player who can unlock the door – he did it about four times and we were unlucky not to get a goal in those moments. It was a big game for him.”
Ryan Taylor went to left back in place of Davide Santon and Ben Arfa came onto the right wing in the second half, and that could be the starting line-up a week tomorrow, when we are at Arsenal.
Ben Arfa is currently easily leading our poll as our Man of the Match with 62% of the vote, and the poll is still open if you haven’t yet voted.
Shola Ameobi, our goalscorer, is in second place with 13% of the vote – pity he didn’t take the penalty.