Sunderland vs Newcastle match report: Jermain Defoe wonder-strike secures crucial victory in Tyne-Wear derby

Sunderland 1 Newcastle 0: Dick Advocaat victorious in his first match at the Stadium of Light

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The Independent Football

It is now too easy; too easy for Sunderland to beat Newcastle and mock them and it is too easy to take the stick to beat the hapless running of the once more defeated football club from Tyneside. History is being written in the North-east.

A superb goal on the stroke of half-time from Jermain Defoe ensured Sunderland defeated Newcastle for the fifth time in succession. In 117 years of this fierce and tribal rivalry that has never happened before, but then there has rarely been such a lack of understanding of what matters to the supporters of Tyneside’s football club.

Sunderland get this fixture. Newcastle don’t. Defoe has been a Sunderland player for less than three months. He already understands.

He ran to the halfway line and slid on his knees when he struck gold with a left-footed volley on the stroke of half-time that Tim Krul, at 6ft 4in, could get nowhere near. As he slid he fell and then he was mobbed by every team-mate, bar Santiago Vergini and Costel Pantilimon.

Newcastle threatened to take the kick-off quickly, with Sunderland’s players sprawled on top of each other in celebration, until Seb  Larsson deliberately stood in their half.

That moment was the sum of Newcastle’s invention for 90 minutes. This is the worst they have played in the run of five defeats that has knocked the life out of their support. That took some doing. Newcastle no longer even score in this fixture.

No wonder their supporters stood dumbfounded for so much of the afternoon.

It was the contrast that was so revealing. This is a party fixture on Wearside now. They expect to win. There is usually a new manager, but the mood change from the previous game at the stadium was still truly dramatic.

Then, Sunderland fans could not leave quick enough, and with good reason, for the insipid, miserable performance that saw them concede four goals inside a half against Aston Villa.

Dick Advocaat made reference to the transformation. He talked of the reception when he entered the stadium with his players, after a night in a hotel. It was vociferous. He said it gave his men a boost, and his words were backed by what followed.


Sunderland, a team who had not won in their previous eight games, and had won only twice at the Stadium of Light, controlled the game with their tenacity, their shape and their desire.

The most damning admission of the day came later when John Carver said the Newcastle players in his dressing room can no longer handle the fixture.

The exact opposite is true for the men from Sunderland. For them, this fixture ensures they can play Premier League football each season. Fifteen priceless points have been plundered in two years. In context, Sunderland won the fixture five times in the previous 28 years.

In January, when the transfer window was open, Newcastle sold a player (a left-back, something they did not have on Sunday), although Carver insisted after the defeat that Davide Santon pushed to leave the club because he was not guaranteed first-team football when he returned from injury (he would have got it on Sunday, their entire defence was makeshift).

Sunderland went and signed Defoe. His goal could keep Sunderland up. Newcastle had one shot on target all afternoon, but they are not allowed to sign players of Defoe’s age.

Defoe looked as if he was in tears as he left the field at half-time. By then Sunderland had already sealed their victory. Newcastle created nothing of note until the 80th minute, by which time Advocaat said his players were tiring.

Until that point, when Remy Cabella shot tamely to the left of Pantilimon, it was a case of how many Sunderland would score. Jonas Gutierrez had to clear from inside his own six-yard area in the ninth minute, Krul stopped a Jordi Gomez free-kick and, midway through the first half, a  combination of Jack Colback and a post kept out Connor Wickham’s header after is looked to deflect off Moussa Sissoko.

Jermain Defoe strikes the opener against Newcastle

Defoe had spurned a good chance in the 37th minute when he cut inside Mike Williamson and his heavy touch allowed Colback, who was jeered throughout, to clear danger with a saving tackle.

It was at that point you could hear 3,000 Newcastle fans shouting: “Attack, attack, attack.”

Their team had nothing. Carver said he would have done cartwheels if he had reached half-time at nil-nil. Instead a long clearance from Pantilimon saw Steven Fletcher demolish Williamson to win the header and the ball looped to Defoe, who caught his volley superbly, crashing it into the roof of the Newcastle goal. The stadium erupted. In the technical area, a man in a blue blazer and a brown scarf watched the ball’s path and began his own celebration.

Advocaat joined a non-exclusive group in victory, but he will take great credit for reversing the demise that threatened to follow the defeat by Aston Villa.

In the 93rd minute, when Patrick van Aanholt wasted possession with a pointless shot, his anger saw him charge back into his dugout. He coerced this performance from his team. He looked powerful as opposed to powerless. Sunderland should have scored more, another 3-0 victory would have been about right.

For that, Fletcher (twice) and Larsson needed to show more composure. It did not matter. They have Newcastle’s number.