Adam Johnson Goal Settles Newcastle-Sunderland Derby


Adam Johnson condemned Newcastle to a fourth successive derby defeat for the first time in their history as Sunderland snatched a dramatic last-gasp 1-0 victory at St James' Park.

The winger struck in the 90th minute to settle a rip-roaring encounter which might have gone either way until his intervention.

It was no more than Gus Poyet's men deserved after creating the better chances on an afternoon when they collected just their third Barclays Premier League win of the season.

Black Cats striker Steven Fletcher was denied by the crossbar before the break and Connor Wickham, Jordi Gomez and Johnson all passed up glorious opportunities to open the scoring.

But goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon had to pull off fine second-half saves from Ayoze Perez and Moussa Sissoko as the Magpies threatened to end their run of defeats before Johnson dashed their hopes in front of a passionate crowd of 52,315.

Sunderland were dealt a significant blow before kick-off when full-back Anthony Reveillere limped out of the warm-up with a calf injury.

Poyet replaced the Frenchman with central defender Sebastian Coates and asked skipper John O'Shea to start at left-back, and the visitors looked understandably shaky as their hosts flew out of the blocks.

However, for all their possession and the driving efforts of Sissoko and lively lone striker Perez, they were unable to trouble Pantilimon to any extent until Sissoko exchanged passes with Sammy Ameobi and drilled in a low 14th-minute effort.

But as the initial onslaught abated, Sunderland found their feet at the back to give the men ahead of them a platform to start creating, and it was they who settled into the better rhythm with striker Fletcher giving them an outlet with the commendable assistance of wide man Wickham.

The England Under-21 international perhaps should have scored with a header from Johnson's 23rd-minute free-kick, and Fletcher was unfortunate not to do so three minutes later when he got ahead of defender Steven Taylor to sidefoot Sebastian Larsson's whipped cross against the bar.

Wickham forced a fingertip save from rookie goalkeeper Jak Alnwick on the half-hour after unleashing a fierce drive and after Perez had sent Pantilimon scuttling across his goal with a curling effort, headed straight at the 21-year-old from Santiago Vergini's delivery.

But despite all the endeavor, a half which brought five bookings ended goalless with the Black Cats leaving the field ahead on points.

The visitors resumed in confident fashion with Newcastle still struggling to find a real coherence, and their fortunes could have taken a turn for the worse five minutes into the second half had it not been for Taylor's bravery.

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  1. Smokey Bacon December 22, 2014
    • jtm371 December 22, 2014

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