The 154th Tyne-Wear derby ended in familiar fashion as Jermain Defoe’s stunning goal at the Stadium of Light gave Sunderland its fifth straight victory over bitter rivals Newcastle for a massive boost in the relegation battle.
Defoe ripped home a wonderful goal just before halftime as Sunderland deservedly went ahead after an impressive first half. They weathered the visiting pressure through the final 45 minutes to see out the victory in just Dick Advocaat’s second game in charge.
Things really began in the sixth minute when Newcastle looked threatening and Ayoze Perez went down in the box but referee Mike Dean waved play on. From that point on Sunderland bossed the match through the first half.
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The Black Cats broke down the other end immediately after Perez’s shout and earned a pair of corners, the second of which nearly came off but Billy Jones’ cross at the far post was blocked just feet in front of the net. The atmosphere was bright but things closed down until the 22nd minute when Connor Wickham got away from Moussa Sissokho at the back post on a corner but headed wide. The Black Cats continued to dominate possession through the half-hour mark, owning nearly 75% possession and a 5-0 corner advantage, but they couldn’t get take the lead.
Jermain Defoe had a big chance After 45 minutes of playing on top, the home side would finally get their deserved lead from yet another spectacular goal on a weekend bulging with plenty of the like. A contested header at the top of the box won by Steven Fletcher fell to Jermain Defoe, and the former Toronto FC striker ripped a looping volley into the top corner before the ball even hit the ground.
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After a poor first 45 minutes, Newcastle came out of the dressing room charged for the second half but it didn’t last long. Sunderland got back on the front foot. They allowed Newcastle more possession as the game went on and the clock became an enemy of the Magpies, and looked dangerous on the counter. Wickham had a big chance with 20 minutes left, but shot just over on the break.
The game had its usual physical flair to it, as Mike Dean ended up issuing seven yellow cards throughout the chippy match, five of them to the home side (although Lee Cattermole remained unscathed). Wickham nearly put the game away with seven minutes to go but he scuffed a massive chance wide off a defender’s foot from dead in front of goal. The ensuing corner was headed at the near post by Santiago Vergini but Tim Krul saved well.
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Newcastle had one big chance as the clock wound down as Perez volleyed a corner towards the top corner, but the ball thumped just over the bar with three minutes to go. Sunderland held nervously on for the win and an enormous three points, moving them three points ahead of the drop and into 15th position. Newcastle, meanwhile, is still nine points above the relegation zone and presumably safe, but they remain in 13th position.
Sunderland: Pantilimon; Jones, O’Shea, Vergini, van Aanholt; Larsson, Cattermole, Gomez; Fletcher, Wickham, Defoe (Johnson 80′).
Goals – Defoe 45+1′
Newcastle: Krul, R.Taylor, Janmaat, Williamson, Colback, Sissoko, Gutierrez, Gouffran (Riviere 58′), Ameobi (Armstrong 87′), Cabella, Perez.