Match Report: Sunderland's Martin O'Neill saves face after Fabricio Coloccini's late exit holes 10-man Newcastle heroics

Sunderland 1 Newcastle United 1

Stadium of Light

So much hatred, so much bile, so much police preparation, and yet ultimately it was all decided by one player leaving the pitch before he had planned.

Much will be made of the dismissal of Cheick Tioté so early in a derby that never matched its build up. The player himself deserves a significant apportionment of blame for that. His wild lunge, when barely a quarter of the contest had passed, was reckless, dangerous and the injury to Steven Fletcher could have been more severe. There was surprise at the red card but not fury, as his manager Alan Pardew, in his acceptance afterwards, was testimony to. Referee Martin Atkinson at times proved inconsistent for such a tribal collision, but the call was correct and it dictated that Newcastle could not play the expansive game which, on yesterday's showing, would have been too much for their hosts. It certainly had been before he went off.

Tioté's removal was not, however, why Sunderland scrambled a fortuitous point. It was because a player who had stood out, left the field with cramp five minutes before it was scored.

Fabricio Coloccini had played 61 minutes of football in the previous seven weeks before he led his side out yesterday. That made what followed even more remarkable. Coloccini was untouchable. He dominated Fletcher to the point where the Scot, who has been the only Sunderland player to score in the Premier League this season, was barely relevant.

Coloccini marshalled and outmanoeuvred everything the numerically superior Sunderland could muster. Pardew was gushing in his praise afterwards for his captain, and with good reason. There was a comparison to Bobby Moore. Coloccini was that good.

From the 25th minute, when Tioté was dismissed, to the 80th minute, when Newcastle's captain was finally forced to leave the field as both legs seized up, Sunderland did not directly test goalkeeper Tim Krul, who was also returning after a period of inactivity (he had missed seven games with an elbow injury), with a shot.

Instead, there was only a brief intake of breath from the travelling Newcastle support, housed in the upper tier of the North Stand for the first time, when Krul fumbled a cross from James McClean in front of them. Even then the Newcastle keeper collected at the second attempt, and he did so with support from his defenders.

The decision to partner Coloccini with Mike Williamson had raised eyebrows, but the latter too was colossal at the heart of the Newcastle defence. There were key elements to this game and they boiled down to the quality Pardew had spoken of beforehand, and the issue that Steven Taylor had screamed in Saturday's papers.

Martin O'Neill admitted afterwards that his players were annoyed when they read they would not make the Newcastle starting XI, (nor did Taylor as it turned out), but there was a collective failure to respond to the assertion when the greatest opportunity, the match itself, was presented to them. If Taylor's crass argument was meant to focus on the gap in ability between the two sides, then yesterday's game suggested he was ultimately correct. He will have a long time to reflect on whether his timing was right, or whether he should have spoken about such an inflammable topic.

However, Sunderland's supporters, understandably outraged, took hatred to a new level with the song that rang around the Stadium of Light throughout the game. "We wish you were dead," they repeatedly shouted. Pardew looked stunned when he was told of the chant's words. O'Neill spoke of his disappointment. It did not paint this game in a good light, but then neither did the barriers of steel that had been erected sporadically around the ground to keep supporters apart.

Sunderland's infield resistance proved far less secure. Newcastle had a corner in the first minute and a goal in the third. The triumvirate involved in it played at a higher level throughout the afternoon. Danny Rose's weak pass on the Sunderland left started the opportunity and from there Hatem Ben Arfa strode down the right, slid his pass forward to Demba Ba. The angle was tight but the shot still required a save with his feet from Simon Mignolet. The ball fell into the path of Yohan Cabaye, and retaining his composure, the France international swept his shot into the bottom corner of the Sunderland goal. Newcastle had the start Pardew had craved. It deflated home players and home fans. In the 21st minute Cabaye, growing in confidence, shot for goal from 30 yards from a free-kick. Mignolet scrambled it over the crossbar.

But then Tioté was sent off in the 25th minute. It did not matter that he had been fouled by Jack Colback as he went for the ball, and that Atkinson had given the free-kick, his kick, with the game still to stop, was wild and it caught Fletcher. The red card changed the whole context. Shola Ameobi, who had been preferred to Papiss Cissé, was taken off in the 39th minute. James Perch and Cabaye worked manfully at the heart of the Newcastle midfield, and Sunderland, as their manager admitted afterwards, never made full use of the extra man, their approach play predictable and the end product laboured.

Pardew claimed it would have been one of the greatest derby victories ever if his side had held on. That was well on its way to happening until Coloccini went down and then, two minutes later, could no longer carry on. There is too much irony that Newcastle were significantly weaker through his absence, and the introduction of his replacement, in the shape of Taylor.

Newcastle became nervous, defending deep, Sunderland summoned a final burst of energy. When Seb Larsson flung over a late free-kick, this time there was no Coloccini to head clear. In his absence John O'Shea won a header he would not have and the ball cruelly ricocheted into the Newcastle goal off Ba's head. O'Neill's overwhelming emotion was relief. Justifiably so.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



Match facts

Sunderland: MIGNOLET 7/10, GARDNER 7, O’SHEA 6, CUELLAR 6, ROSE 8, JOHNSON 5, LARSSON 6, COLBACK 7, McCLEAN 5, SESSEGNON 4, FLETCHER 6

Newcastle: KRUL 7, SANTON 6, COLOCCINI 9, WILLIAMSON 8, SIMPSON 6, GUTIERREZ 7, TIOTE 3, CABAYE 8, BEN ARFA 8, SHOLA AMEOBI 7, BA 8

Goals: Sunderland: Ba 86 og. Newcastle:

Subs: Sunderland Saha 5 (Sessegnon, 64), Vaughan (Johnson, 83). Newcastle Perch 7 (Shola Ameobi, 38), S Taylor (Coloccini, 79), Obertan (Ben Arfa, 83).

Booked: Newcastle Shola Ameobi, Coloccini, Williamson, Cabaye. Sent off: Newcastle Tioté (25).  Man of the match Coloccini. Match rating 6/10. Poss: Sund 51%. New 49%. Attempts on target: Sunderland 6. Newcastle 7. Ref M Atkinson (West Yorks). Att 47,456.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little