Date:Sunday October 21 2012
It's becoming a bit of a habit in an away derby this.
As it was two seasons ago, it took a flukey late goal to rob us of all three points based on the overall performance and the mountain of a task we had.
We were never threatened at any point, which must be a massive embarrassment to them because they had an extra player (plus the ref) and were on their home patch.
Yes, the latest installment of the Wear-Tyne derby came and went, with all sorts of controversy dictating the outcome, although the performance of our captain, Fabricio Coloccini, shouldn't be away from the headlines as he was absolutely top notch.
Things started well for us when a Sunderland move broke down as their left back slipped letting Danny Simpson play a first time measured pass into the path of Hatem Ben Arfa who then fed Demba Ba who had beat the offside trap.
Ba shot early at the keeper, who was standing at his near post and the ball bounced off him into the path of Yohan Cabaye to slot neatly in the corner from six yards.
Cabaye nearly added a second with a curling free kick which was tipped over soon after and we were in total control. Cruising in fact and then the turning point.
Cheick Tiote earning a red card for a foul which on reflection was rash at worst. Mistimed if anything but he got an early bath regardless. So it was ten against eleven. A mountain to climb maybe but no, the lads were magnificent with Colocinni the stand out performer for us.
World class he was. Winning everything and showing a mixture of composure, class and coolness to sweep every attack before they had a chance to prosper. As it was his return from injury and his first game in a while, the inevitable cramp got the better of him and he had to be replaced in the 80th minute by Steven Taylor (Disgustingly targeted by vile comments throughout).
Maybe it was this change that allowed the Mackems the chance to score via a fluke as Coloccini may have been marking O'Shea who headed the initial ball across the goal or Colo may have been where Demba Ba was and instead of knocking it past Tim Krul could have cleared.
All hindsight and unfair of me to presume but a fluke it was regardless.
Chances to finish the game off were few and far between but Ba had a great chance late on but was muscled out of it by O'Shea when nigh on clean through after some good work.
Overall, a draw keeps everyone happy but they must be worried that they couldn't break us down at all with the extra man and many favourable decisions from a ref determined to caution us at will and let some of theirs get away with murder.
Seb Larsson's karate kick on Shola Ameobi's chest proof of that.
Roll on April when we will reopen old wounds and finish them off properly although today a draw feels like a win.
Date:Sunday October 21 2012
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