Fabio Borini netted the winner in the 85th minute as Sunderland finally gave their home fans something to cheer about with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United in the Tyne-Wear derby.
The match was an exciting one, with both sides giving 110% effort. The effects showed late in the match with tired legs and exhaustion abound, but Sunderland dug deep for their first home points of the season and a lift off the bottom of the Premier League table.
The game had a ferocious start, with both teams fittingly after each other harshly in the opening minutes.
Steven Fletcher opened the scoring in just the fifth minute. With the Englishman starting alongside American Jozy Altidore for just the second time this season, Altidore won a corner with good work by the flag, and Fletcher nodded home a back-post cross home with his head off the set-piece.
Fletcher outjumped Paul Dummett, the defender who was making his first career Premier League start and labeled this the biggest game of his life.
The goal didn’t change the exciting feel to the match, as both teams continued to press hard and play physical.
Fletcher nearly had a second in the 16th minute, with a bouncing shot forcing Tim Krul into a diving save, and Altidore couldn’t outmuscle Dummett for possession of the rebound.
Rain began to fall in the 23rd minute bringing strong winds with them, making physical play even more intense and challenges clumsier.
The physical battle continued up to halftime and even after, and both teams failed to get real spells on goal until Newcastle found their equalizer in the 57th minute.
Hatem Ben Arfa on the ball found himself double-teamed at the top corner of the box, but he threaded a brilliant ball through the double-team of Sebastian Larsson and Phil Bardsley. The ball traveled past the pack and to Mathieu Debuchy, who had snuck past everyone, including his marker Adam Johnson, and slotted easily past Kieran Westwood.
Ten minutes later, Fabio Borini made his way off the bench for Sunderland, replacing Adam Johnson, and he immediately made an impact. Borini got the ball streaking towards the 18-yard box corner, and his defender Debuchy slipped, allowing Borini to fire off a shot which Tim Krul nearly spilled but collected in time.
Sunderland had a promising spell of attacking play in the 81st minute when Altidore won a free kick at the top of the penalty area. Altidore stood over it initially, but in the end it was either Fletcher or Larsson who decided to take the kick. Fletcher put his boot to it but put it into the wall.
The Stadium of Light got their moment three minutes later when Jack Colback found himself on the break. He found Altidore, who caught the defense off guard with a perfect layoff for Borini. The give provided the Italian with just enough space to rifle off a shot, which found its mark – the top right corner.
The win brings Sunderland off the bottom of the table past Crystal Palace to 19th place. It’s Gus Poyet’s first win as Sunderland manager, and its the first win of the season for the Black Cats.
Sunderland – Fletcher 5′, Borini 84′
Newcastle – Debuchy 57′
Sunderland – Westwood; Bardsley (Celustka, 77′), Dossena, O’Shea, Cuellar; Cattermole (Ki, 70′), Colback, Larsson, Johnson (Borini, 69′); Altidore, Fletcher.
Newcastle – Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Dummett, Santon; Sissoko (Cisse, 45′), Tiote, Cabaye; Gouffran (Sammy Ameobi, 86′), Ben Arfa, Remy (Shola Ameobi, 70′).