Monday, February 2, 2009

Tyne-Wear derby ends in a draw

As Newcastle focuses upon the task of avoiding relegation, matches such as these are important points of reference. While their play was far from a quality performance, through some stubborn play they were able to salvage a 1-1 draw against bitter foes Sunderland. Following the days action the Magpies find themselves in fifteenth place and single point above the drop zone.

Ricky Sbragia's Black Cats opened the match with intent and the vision of being a part of the sending their rivals to the Championship. With gritty determination they pushed forward but whether it was fate or just good fortune Newcastle was only behind by one at the break, that being Djibril Cissé goal at the thirty-second minute. Accepting Dean Whitehead's through ball the on-loan man from Olympique Marseille first attempt was held back by Magpie 'keeper Steve Harper but the rebound was quickly sent into the net.

Heading into the break, St James' grappled impatiently waiting for something, anything and a hope that purgatory of relegation was not laying ahead. Presumably at the half Joe Kinnear found some magic in his words as the Magpies came out armed with pride and billowing with resolve. New man, Kevin Nolan fought hard for the crest and came close to leveling but still Sunderland held on. Eight minutes after the break Damien Duff went into the books after embarrassing himself with a dreadful dive in the area, yet it was obvious momentum had swung in the hosts favour.

The equalizer came as referee Howard Webb made another of his dubious calls as he pointed after Steed Malbranque was adjudged to bringing down Steven Taylor in the area. While the packed house of St James' sung out in approval, regardless of your allegiances, it was sad call of aspect of the sport that needs to be dealt with. However without failure Shola Ameobi stepped up to the spot and calmly sent the ball into the back of the net.

The Black Cats went forward looking for the winner and after a series of challenges the Toon Army on the edge of their seats the match ended as a 1-1 draw.