It was a rip roaring derby game yesterday between Newcastle and Sunderland, and everybody got tied up in the tension and excitement of the event, including the players, the managers and the coaching staffs.
Pardew and O’Neill on the line yesterday
Lee Cattermole was again the villain when he received a yellow card for his very first tackle in the first minute on Cheick Tiote, and Lee was lucky it was not a straight red.
There were five yellow cards given to Newcastle players, three yellow cards given to Sunderland players and in addition two straight red cards given to Stephane Sessegnon after 58 minutes and then Lee Cattermole after the final whistle.
Stephane received his for elbowing Cheick Tiote and that put Newcastle at a distinct advantage, but Demba Ba missed a penalty after 82 minutes and it was local lad Shola Ameobi who saved the day for the Geordie fans, with a goal one minute into stoppage time.
Lee Cattermole managed to evade a second yellow card, but after the final whistle he was shown a straight red card for dissent towards the refereed Mike Dean and his assistants.
But Martin O’Neill raised a bit of a fuss at the end of the game when he was asked why Cattermole received his red card:
“Possibly in mitigation we had heard that some of their staff had visited the referee’s changing room at half-time.”
Newcastle had goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman dismissed at half-time after an argument with the Sunderland fitness coach Jim Henry, so even the coaches were getting involved in the bad tempered state of affairs yesterday.
But Alan Pardew immediately denied Newcastle had been in to see the referee at half time, even though Mike Dean had given Sunderland a penalty for a shirt pull on Michael Turner by Mike Williamson – something you see at almost every corner or free kick into the box these days, but very rarely given.
If the referees are going to start calling these as penalties, then there should be three or four penalties in every game – the referees have to be consistent.
This is what Alan Pardew had to say:
“I can tell you that’s completely untrue. None of our staff was allowed in the referee’s room. No-one tried to enter it and no-one entered their dressing room. I heard that rumour and it’s not right.”
And then the Newcastle manager tried to play down what had happened between the two benches during the game – if the manager and coaches cannot control themselves, they cannot expect their players to be disciplined and both teams were not disciplined at all in that first half.
Alan Pardew continued that he shouldn’t have goaded O’Neill when Ameobi equalized very late in the game:
“What happens on the bench sometimes gets out of hand, silly things are said. It happens all the time and you just get on with it.”
“I have never done that before. It just goes to show that the pressure of the game can get to even the oldest of managers like myself. I was feeling like 58 today rather than 50.”
This was Pardew’s third derby game and thank goodness he still hasn’t lost one, although it was close yesterday, and he seemed to make the exact right changes at half time when he brought on Ben Arfa for Ryan Taylopr on the right wing and move Ryan back to left back in place of Davide Santon.
And Sunderland had a chance to win at St. James Park for the first time since 2000, but Martin O’Neil although disappointed at not winning, said the derby game was everything he had heard it would be:
“It was everything that people had told me about, everything, absolutely everything.” “Hostility, which I am kind of used to – that’s even from my own fans – fervour, everything, everything.”
“In a perverse sort of way, I was enjoying it – it had to be really perverse – but there was obviously disappointment at the end.”
Sunderland missed a huge opportunity to get bragging rights yesterday, and it took local lad Shola Ameobi to equalize late in the game.
The good thing for Newcastle is that they played well and in a disciplined way in that second half, and Ben Arfa made a huge difference on the right wing.
But we have now lost 7 points of the last 9 and next up is not an easy game at Arsenal next Monday night. We’re not expected to get anything out of that game so maybe we will. 😀