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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 November 2007, 14:43 GMT
Sunderland 1-1 Newcastle
By Phil McNulty

Newcastle's Joey Barton clashes with Sunderland's Dickson Etuhu
Newcastle's Joey Barton clashes with Sunderland's Dickson Etuhu
James Milner's fortunate equaliser earned Newcastle a point against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The hosts looked on course for victory after dominating the first half and going ahead after 47 minutes through Danny Higginbotham's header.

But Newcastle responded well and levelled after 64 minutes when Milner's speculative cross deceived keeper Craig Gordon and went in off the far post.

Sunderland almost snatched a win when Michael Chopra headed against the bar.

The Black Cats controlled the opening 45 minutes against a strangely subdued Newcastle side, who chose a light blue away strip ahead of their traditional black and white stripes for the clash with their fiercest rivals.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, however, was sporting his team's trademark shirt as he took his place among supporters behind the goal.

Ross Wallace should have given Sunderland the lead inside two minutes, volleying wastefully over the top from Carlos Edwards' cross.

Roy Keane's side then shrugged off the loss of Nyron Nosworthy with a hamstring injury after 24 minutes to carve out all the best openings.

606: POST-MATCH DEBATE

Grant Leadbitter had two chances in the space of seconds just after the half-hour, seeing a header saved by Steve Harper then having a shot blocked on the line by Alan Smith.

He also sent a close-range header over the top from only eight yards as Newcastle struggled to get any sort of momentum.

The first half ended in acrimony when, predictably, Newcastle's Joey Barton was involved in angry exchanges with Sunderland's players after raising his foot dangerously in a challenge with Dickson Etuhu.

Sunderland were deservedly ahead two minutes after the break when Higginbotham arrived at the far post to head Leadbitter's cross beyond Harper.

The goal finally sparked Newcastle into life, and they were level after 64 minutes when Milner's left-flank cross drifted in via the post with Sunderland keeper Gordon rooted to the spot.

But Sunderland almost restored their lead within seconds, Kenwyne Jones shooting inches wide after a clever turn on the edge of the area.

Michael Owen then had his best chance of the game when he controlled Harper's long clearance, but he could not get enough power on his shot and Gordon saved comfortably.

And Chopra nearly struck against his old club nine minutes from time when he headed Ian Harte's far post corner against the bar with Harper beaten.


  • Sunderland boss Roy Keane:
    "We didn't have that bit of luck today and we can talk all day about being unlucky but we keep getting these lessons in the Premier League and you have to take your chances.

    "We had chances to win the game and these things come back to haunt you. But if we keep performing like that, we'll be okay.

    "In terms of work-rate and performance we were different class. We worked extremely hard and I thought our performance was outstanding."

  • Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce:
    "The response after we conceded was very pleasing but I wanted to see that kind of performance before we went a goal down.  

    "When we scored I thought we might have gone on to win the match.

    "Sunderland out-muscled us and we could not get our passing game going. But a draw was a fair result and we are happy with a point away from home."


    Sunderland: Gordon, McShane, Nosworthy (Collins 25), Higginbotham, Harte, Edwards, Leadbitter, Etuhu, Wallace (Stokes 72), Chopra, Jones.
    Subs Not Used: Ward, Miller, Connolly.

    Booked: Chopra.

    Goals: Higginbotham 52.

    Newcastle: Harper, Taylor, Faye (Beye 61), Rozehnal, N'Zogbia, Milner, Smith, Barton, Emre (Geremi 88), Owen (Martins 83), Viduka.
    Subs Not Used: Forster, Jose Enrique.

    Booked: Faye, Taylor.

    Goals: Milner 65.

    Att: 47,701

    Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).



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