Sunday, 4 March 2012

Newcastle 1-1 Sunderland

Super-sub Shola Ameobi equalised in stoppage time to secure Newcastle a point in a feisty encounter at the Sports Direct Arena.

It looked like it would be a game of two penalties as Sunderland scored theirs in the first half and Newcastle failed to convert one of their own in the final ten minutes until Ameobi popped up with the winner in the 91st minute.

Sunderland were forced to have their backs to the wall as Newcastle spared no expense in the search for an equaliser.

Referee Mike Dean awarded Sunderland a penalty after Mike Williamson was found guilty of shirt pulling in the box on Michael Turner and Sunderland broke the deadlock.

Nicklas Bendtner, on loan from Arsenal, hit the back of the net from the penalty spot giving Sunderland the lead in the first half and meaning there are not the only team yet to score a penalty in the Premier League anymore.

Tempers flared throughout the match, between the players and the managers, and the slick, slippery surface did not help the wild challenges flying in.

Patience did snap in the second half and Stephane Sessegnon was shown red for raising his arm against Cheick Tiote in the 58th minute. Neither player had the ball but Sessegnon’s left elbow was raised and push backwards into Tiote’s chest.

Tiote’s reaction was delayed and he lay clutching his face despite being caught in the chest but you can’t raise your hands and the red card was justified.

There was much made beforehand of these sides’ disciplinary records namely, Tiote and Lee Cattermole who have their share of 46 yellow cards and four reds between them. Three of those reds are contributed by Cattermole and 19 yellows by Tiote.

Both players received yellow cards today for fouls against each other. Cattermole’s came after just 30 seconds and he followed it up by getting a red two minutes after the final whistle for verbally abusing Mike Dean.

Both teams had their fair share of chances with Sunderland looking the more likely to score before half time.

Alan Pardew made one change after the break which saw Hatem Ben Arfa for Davide Santon. Ben Arfa’s first contribution got his side a corner which almost resulted in a Demba Ba equaliser.

He then almost made the different late in the game as Newcastle put the pressure on Sunderland but his shot was hit straight at Simon Mingolet.

McClean came agonisingly close to doubling Sunderland’s lead but the tame shot was scrambled away by the leg of Tim Krul. Firstly, Krul kept out Bendtner’s low shot then recovered quick enough to stop the follow up from McClean. Superb goalkeeping and it shows why the ‘keeper was offered a new five-year deal earlier this week.

Newcastle felt they were denied a penalty of their in the final 15 minutes as the ball looked to have hit the had of John O’Shea but contact was minimal.

They were finally given one of their own when Frazier Campbell, who came on in the 71st minute to replace Nicklas Bendtner, took down Ameobi. Demba Ba stepped up to convert the kick but his effort was heroically saved by Mignolet.

As Newcastle hearts looked as if all hope was gone, the pressure eventually paid off against the ten men of Sunderland and Ameobi grabbed a winner as he smashed his shot past Mingolet in stoppage time.

Despite a fantastic effort by Sunderland to hold their lead for the last half an hour the Magpies finally broke the deadlock to share the spoils.

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