Ba own goal denies 10-man Newcastle win at Sunderland

Sunderland rescued a 1-1 Premier League draw with 10-man Newcastle United in the Wear-Tyne derby courtesy of Demba Ba’s own goal in the closing moments at the Stadium of Light.
Martin O’Neill’s side were fortunate to escape with a draw from a typically frantic derby match which found Newcastle comfortable for large swathes of the afternoon after Yohan Cabaye struck the opening goal on two minutes.
Cheick Tiote was harshly – some would argue wrongly – sent off for a late tackle on Scotland forward Steven Fletcher midway through the first half due to his studs being shown in a challenge, but replays showed it to be clumsy rather than malicious as he went for he ball after tangling with Jack Colback.
Referee Martin Atkinson tends to be trigger happy in such situations and was already reaching for his red card as Fletcher hit the deck.
This was Atkinson’s first Premier League red card of the season, but expect plenty more. He gave nine red cards in the division last season, more than any other referee.
Newcastle were the better side for the majority of the contest, but visiting manager Alan Pardew will probably paint this as a moral victory for his team such was their ability to nullify the home side for long spells of the match.
Pardew has yet to a lose a Premier League match as manager against Sunderland with four wins and two draws. Sunderland have won one of their last 15 previous Tyne-Wear derbies in the Premier League, but this may well feel like a win given the circumstances.
The visiting side made a quick start to the match when goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could only palm Shola Ameobi’s shot into the path of Cabaye, who drove the ball into the net from 10 yards out.
Sunderland did little of note throughout the match. They continue to rely too heavily on Fletcher, who has scored five of their six goals in the Premier League. Ba now has the other one.
The Newcastle forward could do little to prevent the ball from hitting his own net on 85 minutes. John O’Shea nodded the ball wide of goal from Sebastian Larsson’s free-kick, but the ball flew off the frame of Ba to beat the Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul, who was heading to his right as the ball dropped left.
Newcastle were probably penalised for the loss of their captain Fabricio Coloccini, who was in outstanding form at the back for the visiting side but departed the scene seemingly with a spot of cramp to be replaced by Steven Taylor in the final 10 minutes.
Coloccini had missed the last seven games for his club with a hamstring injury suffered on international duty, but strolled through the match on his return with his coolness in tight situations something to behold.
In a match of few chances elsewhere, Ba could had handed the 10 men a 2-0 lead on 38 minutes when he lifted the ball over from an agile attempt at a scissor-kick while Sunderland substitute Louis Saha knocked the ball wide from a corner standing unmarked on 81 minutes.
But his side wouldn’t have to wait too long for the goal that gave them their point.
Fabricio Coloccini – Newcastle: A lesson in how to defend by the Newcastle captain. Led by example. His side may well have collected three points if he had been fit enough to see out the final 10 minutes.
Sunderland: Mignolet 6, Gardner 6, Rose 6, O’Shea 6, Cuellar 6, Colback 6, Larsson 6, Johnson 5, McClean 5, Sessegnon 5, Fletcher 6…subs: Vaughan 6, Saha 5
Newcastle: Krul 6, Simpson 7, Santon 7, Coloccini 9, Tiote 5, Cabaye 6, Gutierrez 6, Ben Arfa 6, Sh Ameobi 6, Ba 6…subs: Perch 6, Obertan 6, Taylor 6

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