The much anticipated Tyne Wear Derby provided good entertainment in what was a tense battle. Both teams were missing key players, and the home fans were happy to see Andy Carroll absent from the visitors’ line up, given his performace at St. James' in the Oct. 31 clash. Sunderland were without Welbeck and their influential skipper Lee Cattermole. Overall, the home team were sharper in the first half, coming forward well, with Newcastle threatening on the break.
The game changed drastically early in the second half when a Barton corner from the right was met by Ameobe and the ball tumbled forward to Kevin Nolan, who cheekily back-heeled into the net. The Geordies celebrated wildly, and to be fair put in a good shift in the second half, with Sunderland losing their shape, and being restricted to hopeful balls forward. Some of the home fans were on their way home from the SSOL late in added time when the industrious Henderson pushed the ball sideways to goal machine Phil Bardsley who let fly just like at Aston Villa, but this time Steve Harper pushed the ball out to Gyan who instinctively chested home into the top corner for our equaliser.
Overall the game was pretty even, with Sunderland shading the first half on chances and Newcastle dominating the second period. I have a sneaky respect for what Alan Pardew has achieved across the Tyne, and he may yet prove a decent choice if Hughton had to go, but to be honest the whole game was overshadowed in retrospect by the transfer request from Darren Bent, coming soon after the final whistle.
No wonder the star striker looked a bit disengaged during the 90. Another one bites the dust; surely not quite the song that Bruce wanted to play the end of the game.