Sunderland grabs 1-1 draw against Newcastle
Sunderland grabbed a last-minute equalizer against fierce local rival Newcastle to draw 1-1 in the Premier League on Sunday, making up for a disastrous defeat earlier in the season.
Ghana international Asamoah Gyan scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time in the north east derby, forcing the ball into the net from close range after Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper failed to hold Phil Bardsley's shot.
Gyan is Sunderland's record signing after joining for more than 13 million pounds (then US$20 million) in August.
''We are really disappointed today because we know our performance and some of our play deserved to win,'' Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said.
Newcastle went ahead in the 52nd at the Stadium of Light after Shola Ameobi got up well for a corner by Joey Barton to head the ball down. Captain Kevin Nolan back-heeled the ball into the net for his 10th goal of the season and the first time he has reached double figures in the Premier League.
Nolan scored a hat trick at St. James' Park in October when Newcastle thrashed Sunderland 5-1 in the Premier League - the biggest derby victory for the Magpies in 55 years.
Newcastle was seeking to rebound Sunday from its shock 3-1 defeat to fourth-tier Stevenage in the FA Cup third round on Jan. 8. The visitors looked set for victory after Nolan's goal despite playing the match without Andy Carroll, Cheik Tiote and Steven Taylor, three of the club's most impressive performers this season.
One Sunderland fan was arrested on the pitch after confronting Harper at the end of the match with the Newcastle goalkeeper temporarily ending up on the ground. Sunderland manager Steve Bruce said the pitch invader was led away by police while Pardew played down the incident.
Rival fans were seen hurling seats at each other at the final whistle.
Sunderland, which is challenging for one of the European spots next season, now has 34 points from 23 games, while Newcastle has 29 from 22.
''Even though we weren't playing well, at the death with a minute to go, we had six or seven people in the box trying to score a goal, so we never gave it up,'' Bruce said. ''We got a bit of the bounce of the ball, but Phil (Bardsley) was in the 18-yard box and we got that little bit of luck, which got us a point.''