Summary: Paolo Di Canio celebrated his first win as Sunderland boss by demolishing Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby at St James’ Park.
In only the Italian’s second game in charge since replacing Martin O’Neill on he masterminded an unlikely victory in the backward of their fiercest rivals to move three points clear of the relegation zone.
As expected the match started at breakneck speed but it wasn’t until the 27th minute that the deadlock was broken. Jonas Gutierrez’s sloppy pass was picked off by James McClean and he set up Stephane Sessegnon to drill a low shot beyond Tim Krul from 20-yards.
The Magpies responded and could have levelled if it weren’t for Simon Mignolet thwarting Papiss Cisse twice and denying Gutierrez to atone for his earlier error with a sprawling save to beat away his cross-shot.
Krul was then forced off with a shoulder injury before Cisse saw a goal wrongly chalked off after the break as the assistant referee flagged for offside as the Toon forward bundled in from a free kick. Substitute Hatem Ben Arfa headed over when well placed as the home side became increasingly anxious in their pursuit of an equaliser, which Sunderland exploited in order to wrap the game up.
With 15 minutes left Adam Johnson was allowed to drift inside and curl into the top corner before David Vaughan crashed home a spectacular effort that saw Di Canio mobbed by players and staff on a memorable day for the Black Cats.
Alan Pardew post-match…“It’s a tough one to take. I thought Sunderland looked fresh and sharp and almost from the outset we looked a little bit tired from our efforts this week.”
Paulo Di Canio post-match…“I’m happy for my players because they were warriors today. I was excited to see our fans celebrate because I know what it means to win here. Yes, it’s a big win in terms of the area but it’s only one step and not a big step in terms of the table.”
Good day for?…John O’Shea: A towering performance from the Sunderland skipper as he regimentally marshalled his back four to a rare clean sheet.
Bad day for?…Jonas Gutierrez: Not a day to remember from Newcastle’s usually dependable Argentine. Played out of position at left back it was his misplaced pass that led to Sunderland’s first goal while he allowed Johnson too much time and space to fire in the second.