Newcastle take bragging rights in Tyne-Wear derby

Alexander Isak celebrates opener
Alexander Isak celebrates opener for Newcastle
Sunderland 0-3 Newcastle: Magpies secure bragging rights in Tyne-Wear derby and progress to FA Cup fourth-round thanks to an Alexander Isak brace.

After a week of PR own goals for Sunderland, here was another self-inflicted wound. Three, in fact. The black-and-white signage may have gone but it was replaced by a red carpet – and Newcastle walked all over their dutiful hosts.

Dan Ballard found that Black Cats do not have nine lives when, after escaping a red card for a foul on Alexander Isak with the striker clear on goal on the half hour, he turned into his own net five minutes later. It was the goal that broke what always felt a fragile resistance.

And how in keeping it was with a theme of self-sabotage, 48 hours after the Championship club were forced into an embarrassing climbdown having allowed Newcastle to decorate part of the stadium in their own colours, infuriating Sunderland’s fanbase.

The vandalism did not end with Ballard’s own goal, either. The second half was just 30 seconds old when Pierre Ekwah wanted that same length of time to gather his thoughts in the penalty area.

By the time the midfielder had come to his senses the ball was gone and in the back of the net, Miguel Almiron picking his pocket and Isak cashing in. Sunderland were spent.

An atmosphere that had bubbled and boiled very quickly ran as cool as the winter air, and with it Sunderland’s hopes of an upset evaporated into it.

The home fans, who had outperformed their team in a first half of febrile noise, resorted to taunting Kieran Trippier. He responded by pointing to the scoreboard. Sunderland 0 Newcastle 2, it read. Come then end there was one more, Isak converting a 90th-minute penalty after Ballard had clumsily barged into Anthony Gordon.

Anthony Gordon celebrates penalty converted for Newcastle

And how Trippier and his manager, Eddie Howe, needed that result. The pair have suffered more than most during Newcastle’s slump in form, seven defeats from eight before this.

Had Howe lost another here, the reserves of goodwill he has amassed would have taken a hit. Rather, it was his team inflicting the blows during a one-sided derby in which the visitors made their superiority look far greater than the 17 places that separate the rivals in the football pyramid.

For Sunderland and Michael Beale, there was to be no new-manager bounce, history having shown immediate derby victories for three of his predecessors in recent times. By the time his team began to threaten – Alex Pritchard twice went close late on – the game was gone.

Newcastle were fitter, faster and stronger from the off – Joelinton was outstanding – and they would have led before Ballard’s own goal if not for Sean Longstaff’s wild finishing. But when Joelinton burst free on the left and centred towards Isak, it was Ballard’s desperate boot that gave them the advantage they deserved.

Almiron then laid on Isak’s first after half-time and the Swede wrote his name in Tyne-Wear folklore with his cool penalty at the death.

Newcastle celebrated afterwards by taking their customary dressing-room picture on the pitch in front of their 6,000 supporters. It would usually have triggered anger from the home fans. But after a week of outrage against their own club, they, just like their team, were done.


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