MATCH REPORTS

Newcastle United 5 Sunderland 1

Newcastle celebrate taking the lead against Sunderland

By Dan King

In one of the most memorable Tyne-Wear derbies in recent memory, a Kevin Nolan hat-trick and a Shola Ameobi double gave Newcastle United a thumping 5-1 win over Sunderland at St. James' Park.

Nolan became the first Magpies player since Peter Beardsley in 1985 to take home the matchball in a game against The Black Cats while Ameobi continued his remarkable recent scoring record against the Wearsiders in a game which also saw former Toon defender Titus Bramble sent off in the second half.

Darren Bent scored a late consolation for Steve Bruce's side, but that couldn't prevent a day of humiliation for the red and whites - and a day of jubilation for the black and whites.

Chris Hughton named an unchanged side from the one which won at West Ham eight days earlier - although Steven Taylor made a welcome return to the squad as a substitute - while Sunderland also fielded the same XI which beat Aston Villa the previous weekend.

A banner in the South-East corner declared 'Hughton Is A Geordie' while another portrayed the great Sir Bobby Robson alongside the quote: 'It's the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging.'

There was certainly plenty of passion inside St. James' in a fast and furious opening where, after a bright start from Newcastle, Sunderland could have taken the lead through Bramble - but the defender headed off target from Jordan Henderon's corner.

The yellow winter ball was dusted down for the first time this season and there was an early yellow card for Cheik Tiote, booked somewhat harshly for a foul on Steed Malbranque, but having laid down an early marker, referee Phil Dowd did his best to let the game flow where possible.

Andy Carroll burst through in the 12th minute and was only denied a clear run on goal by a great last-ditch tackle from Phil Bardsley before United's number nine was also booked - rightly - for a foul on Danny Welbeck. Then on the 20 minute mark, Carroll had strong appeals for a penalty waved away as he went down under a hefty challenge after chesting down Danny Simpson's delicious pass.

United had a great opportunity to take the lead when Joey Barton's corner was met by Carroll. Belgian keeper Simon Mignolet made a good save but Fabricio Coloccini dived to meet the rebound - only for his header to hit Ameobi and go wide.

Mignolet made another save to deny Barton from 20 yards - but from the resulting corner, The Magpies went 1-0 up thanks to a wonderful piece of improvisation from captain Kevin Nolan. He was virtually lying flat on his back as Barton's flag-kick came to him but he produced a powerful overhead kick before being piled upon by his team-mates.

Nolan then saw a 20-yard effort zip just wide, with the Sunderland keeper scrambling across his goal, but soon got his second. The ball was played into the area and Carroll went for a bicycle kick; he didn't get the connection he wanted, but it fell kindly for the unmarked Nolan who controlled the ball and finished easily.

With 40 minutes on the clock, Steve Bruce decided he had to change things and introduced record signing Asamoah Gyan from the bench in place of Ahmed Elmohamady. But - after Danny Simpson was booked for a tackle of Welbeck despite getting plenty of the ball - referee Dowd awarded United a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Gutierrez was hacked down as he surged into the box and Shola Ameobi - who scored with such aplomb from the spot in this fixture two seasons ago and also notched at the Stadium of Light that same campaign - stepped up to convert from 12 yards to give Newcastle a 3-0 advantage at the break.

Bruce sent his side out early for the second half as he demanded a response in the second half, but they were unable to muster much other than a Henderson corner which hit Bent and bounced wide as Newcastle took the heat out of the game.

Then they began to probe again, with Nolan lashing over after a one-two with Barton, before Carroll went on another jinking run as he latched onto a Gutierrez touch and was sent crashing to the ground by a late tackle by Bramble. He was the last man and Dowd had no alternative but to show him the red card, and the game was now virtually over as a contest.

Gyan did flash the ball across goal, but past everybody, in a rare Sunderland move, but the visitors were getting more and more frustrated with the likes of Bardsley and Cattermole going into Dowd's book as Bruce's side threatened to lose their discipline, but after Gutierrez saw a shot saved by Mignolet, United made it four on 70 minutes.

Simpson played another great ball in and Carroll rose to meet it, only for his header to cannon back off the crossbar. Ameobi, though, was following in and although he still had plenty to do, he smashed a half-volley into the net from 12 yards for his fourth goal in three outings against the Wearsiders.

Then came the fifth - and Nolan's third. Barton, whose delivery all day was exceptional, took a corner after his free-kick had been deflected behind, and Ameobi won it before Nolan diverted it home to grab the second hat-trick of his United career, 13 months after his other treble at Ipswich Town last season.

With 15 minutes still to play, the Sunderland fans began streaming out - and missed their side's best spell of the game, as Tim Krul was forced into his first save, to deny Gyan, and Bent pulled one back in stoppage time with a header from a corner before almost grabbing another seconds later, only for the Dutch keeper to stand tall and block.

But it was far too late to change the outcome and Newcastle recorded a famous derby victory to climb above Sunderland in the table and cement their position, for now at least, as the top dogs in the North-East.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Jose Enrique, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Joey Barton, Cheik Tiote, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez, Andy Carroll, Shola Ameobi (sub Nile Ranger 86). Subs not used: Ole Soberberg, James Perch, Steven Taylor, Wayne Routledge, Alan Smith, Peter Lovenkrands. Bookings: Tiote, Carroll, Simpson.

SUNDERLAND: Simon Mignolet, Nedum Onuoha, Phil Bardsley, MIchael Turner, Titus Bramble, Steed Malbranque, Jordan Henderson, Lee Cattermole (sub John Mensah 76), Ahmed Elmohamady (sub Asamoah Gyan 40) Danny Wellbeck (sub Kieran Richardson 55), Darren Bent. Subs not used: Craig Gordon, Anton Ferdinand, Paulo Da Silva, Boudewijn Zenden. Bookings: Bardsley, Turner, Onuoah, Cattermole, Mensah, Malbranque. Sent off: Bramble.

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