By Anthony Marshall
Sunderland 1 (Gyan 90)
Newcastle 1 (Nolan 52)
Asamoah Gyan scored an injury-time equaliser to deny Newcastle victory in the Tyne-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light.
Magpies captain Kevin Nolan's moment of magic looked to have won the game for the visitors, but Sunderland striker Gyan bundled home from close range with only seconds remaining to grab a share of the spoils..
But even though the big front man raced clear of ex-Magpie Titus Bramble and slipped the ball past keeper Craig Gordon, it rolled agonisingly the wrong side of the upright.
The hosts hit back immediately, as Darren Bent broke the Newcastle offside trap, before cutting back inside Fabricio Coloccini. The England striker's low shot was on target but blocked superbly by the legs of Steve Harper.
As the game flowed from end to end, Coloccini then saw an effort cleared off the line by Kieran Richardson, while Jonas Gutierrez dragged a shot from distance well wide.
Visiting stopper Harper was again called into action on 18 minutes, turning Steed Malbranque's strike from the edge of the area around the post for a corner.
The Magpies were dealt a blow in the 35th minute, when midfielder Alan Smith went down under the challenge of Kieran Richardson. After treatment, Smith was unable to continue and Danny Guthrie was introduced in the middle of the park in his place.
Ameobi was presented with another great chance to break the deadlock just before the interval. Barton's corner was met by the fit-again forward, but he could only direct his powerful header over the bar.
Sunderland made a bright opening to the second half and Darren Bent once more beat the offside trap but, under pressure from Harper, could only lift his effort off target with the keeper rushing out to narrow the angle.
However, the deadline was finally broken in the 52nd minute and it went Newcastle's way.
Barton drilled a corner to the far post which was met by Ameobi. As the ball dropped just a couple of yards out, Nolan was first to react with a cheeky, instinctive back-heel to flick the ball past Gordon and send the Geordies behind the goal delirious.
The home side threw men forward in search of an equaliser and winger Ahmed Elmohamady went close midway through the half as his long range effort fizzed just past Harper's upright with the keeper seemingly beaten.
That willingness to pile forward left Sunderland exposed at times defensively and on 69 minutes Jonas Gutierrez almost took advantage, latching on to Ameobii's flick before sending a rising shot across the face of goal which ultimately failed to trouble Gordon.
But deep into five minutes of added on time, Sunderland snatched an equaliser. Phil Bardsley's low shot was parried by Harper straight into the path of Gyan, with the ball hitting the front man before looping up and dropping agonisingly into the back of the net.
Sunderland (4-4-2): Craig Gordon; Nedum Onuoha (Bolo Zenden 76), Titus Bramble (c), Anton Ferdinand, Phil Bardsley; Steed Malbranque, Kieran Richardson, Jordan Henderson, Ahmed Elmohamady (Jack Colback 88); Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan
Subs not used: Simon Mingolet, Marcos Angeleri, Paulo Da Silva, Cristian Riveros, Andy Reid
Newcastle (4-4-2): Steve Harper; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique; Joey Barton, Alan Smith (Danny Guthrie 36), Kevin Nolan (c), Jonas Gutierrez (Dan Gosling 90); Leon Best (Peter Lovenkrands 89), Shola Ameobi
Referee: Howard Webb