Premier League: Newcastle 1 Sunderland 1
A penalty, a missed penalty, two red cards and a late equaliser added to the drama of the Tyne-Wearside derby on Sunday.
A Nicklas Bendtner penalty gave Sunderland the lead in the first half but a late equaliser from Shola Ameobi spared the hosts blushes after Stephane Sessegnon was sent off and Demba Ba missed a late penalty.
And, in a dramatic sequel, Sunderland's Lee Cattermole, who was booked inside the first minute for a bad lunge on Cheik Tiote, was sent off by referee Mike Dean after the final whistle.
Early on both teams struggled to get any rhythm in their play with bad tackles coming in at regular intervals.
After Yohan Cabaye was booked for a late tackle, James Mclean followed suit on Danny Simpson prompting the Newcastle fans and Simpson to react. Both players were booked as a result.
When a chance finally presented itself it came from the penalty spot. A tug by Mike Williamson on Michael Turner after a free kick from Kieran Richardson was spotted by referee Mike Dean and he pointed to the spot.
The returning Nicklas Bendtner converted into the bottom left hand corner giving the men from Wearside an early lead in the 24th minute.
The visitors nearly doubled their lead in the 32nd minute. A confident Bendtner majestically controlled a lofted free kick and unleashed a sharp shot which Tim Krul done extremely well to get down to.
Newcastle had to wait 39 minutes to forge their first opening. Cabaye's corner was met strongly by Fabricio Coloccini but his header was well saved by SImon Mignolet.
The home side's belief started to rise and they went close to an equaliser when Ba's header smashed into the bar.
Feeling aggrieved to be behind, Newcastle started the second half on the front foot with a Ba header just going past the post.
Their bitter rivals nearly put the game out of their reach. A smart pass into the box from Bendtner found Larsson who was denied by Krul. The rebound fell for Mclean who also failed to beat the Dutchman.
The momentum had shifted back to the men in red and white yet a moment of stupidity changed the context of the game.
Battling for the ball Sessegnon directed an elbow at Tiote who without hesitation went down to the ground. The Benin international was swiftly given a red card with 30 minutes left.
Sunderland’s battle to hold onto their lead with 10 men began relatively comfortably but as the game drew to a close the Magpies started to create chances.
Finally the home fans had their prayers answered as referee Dean awarded a penalty when substitute Shola Ameobi was recklessly brought down by Frazier Campbell.
However their delight soon turned to despair as Ba's effort was saved down low by Mignolet.
The equaliser finally came in stoppage time. A cross was flicked into the path of Ameobi who made no mistake in guiding the ball home.