Sunderland 0-1 Newcastle
A penalty from Nolberto Solano was enough to give Newcastle victory over Sunderland in the 124th Tyne-Wear derby.
Solano's first-half spot-kick gave the Magpies a vital three points that took them up to third place in the Premiership and handed their neighbours a 13th successive league defeat.
Sunderland went into the game without a league win since mid-December and manager Mick McCarthy still looking for his first point since taking over.
He was not helped by being forced to put out a below-strength side with leading scorer Kevin Phillips and Gavin McCann added to their injury list by failing late fitness tests.
The game was played at a furious pace from kick-off with Sunderland showing the sort of commitment that has been absent too often this season.
Alan Shearer had the ball in the net inside four minutes from a Solano cross, but it was disallowed for a foul on Darren Williams.
41 mins: Given denies Sunderland twice in a minute
43 mins: Solano scores from the spot
90 mins: Kyle finds the net but it is ruled out
Newcastle keeper Shay Given again proved to be a thorn in Sunderland's side.
He was called upon early in the game when David Bellion beat Aaron Hughes before firing a left foot shot that the Irish keeper did brilliantly to keep out.
At the other end Craig Bellamy's pace was a constant menace to the home defence.
A ball over the top gave him two chances to break the deadlock but first Thomas Sorensen saved and then Jody Craddock did well to block his second effort.
Solano should have done better from a Hugo Viana cross but his downward header was off target.
Newcastle enjoyed the majority of the possession but Sunderland carved out several decent chances and shortly before half-time they came close to the opener.
Hughes deflected an inswinging Thornton corner towards his own goal that Given tipped over and then Bellion looked to have scored but Given got down low to keep the ball out.
Moments later Newcastle were in front when Kevin Kilbane fouled Bellamy in the area.
With Shearer off due to injury Solano stepped up and sent Sorensen the wrong way from the spot.
The goal seemed to lift the pressure off Newcastle and Bellamy should have made sure of the three points with a second goal but Sorensen came to Sunderland's rescue.
Sunderland had their chances
Just before the half-time interval he was twice denied and the Welshman continued to threaten after the break, but the Dane proved more than a match.
The visitors had some nervy moments defending their slender advantage and Sunderland looked to have grabbed an equaliser late on.
Kevin Kyle found the net but it was controversially disallowed.
Newcastle's defence held firm to see them move a step closer to a Champions League spot.
For Sunderland the end of their season cannot come too soon.
Sunderland: Sorensen, Williams, Bjorklund, Craddock, Gray,
Arca (Flo 83), Kilbane, Thornton, Kyle, Proctor (Ryan 76),
Bellion. Subs not used: Poom, McCartney, Clark.
Booked: Williams, Proctor, Bjorklund, Kyle.
Newcastle: Given, Griffin, Woodgate, O'Brien (Caldwell 19), Hughes, Solano, Dyer, Jenas, Viana (Bernard 72), Shearer (Ameobi 26), Bellamy.
Subs not used: Harper, LuaLua.
Booked: Viana, Caldwell, Dyer, Griffin.
Referee: S Bennett (Kent).