By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Journalist
At the Stadium of Light
Newcastle United 1 (Ryan Taylor 62)
Ryan Taylor's stunning second-half free-kick was enough for Newcastle to claim a 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The left-back struck just past the hour mark, curling past keeper Simon Mignolet to earn United three Premier League points and their second clean sheet of the season.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between for both sides, with Asamoah Gyan and Stephane Sessegnon both going close for the hosts, while Newcastle felt they should have had a penalty when Seb Larsson handled Joey Barton's goalbound header on the line.
Both teams looked bright in the opening stages in front of a vociferous packed house at the Stadium of Light, and it was the hosts who created the first opening when Jack Colback flashed a low delivery right across the face of goal.
But Newcastle hit back and should have been awarded a penalty on 15 minutes. Shola Ameobi beat keeper Simon Mignolet to Yohan Cabaye's deep corner, and when his header was nodded goalwards by Joey Barton the arm of Sebastian Larsson appeared to deflect it over the bar. Despite lengthy appeals from the visitors, referee Howard Webb awarded a corner rather than a spot-kick
At the other end, Sessegnon just failed to react in time as a loose ball dropped near him a couple of yards out, with Krul quick to smother the danger, and Cabaye found himself as the first name in Mr Webb's notebook in the 25th minute for a late challenge on Phil Bardsley.
Sunderland continued to press and Asamoah Gyan hooked Seb Larsson's corner wide, but it was end to end stuff and Mignolet did well to claw Cabaye's 25-yard striker away for a corner.
As tempers continued to rise, Wes Brown and Ryan Taylor were cautioned for fouls, while in between those Krul did brilliantly to dive full-length and palm Sessegnon's drive to safety. Gyan skimmed the woodwork with a late left-footed curling effort, as neither side were able to break the deadlock before half-time.
The home side had a penalty shout of their own in the 58th minute when Kieran Richardson tumbled under the challenge of Cheik Tiote inside the area, but Mr Webb had no hesitation in waving away the Black Cats' appeals.
At the other end Mignolet spilled Jonas Gutierrez's low shot on 62 minutes and Sunderland were made to pay. Having failed to properly clear the ball they gave away a soft free-kick wide on the left and Ryan Taylor stepped up to curl an inch-perfect effort into the far corner and beyond the despairing grasp of the keeper.
After Lee Cattermole, Barton and Bardsley had all been cautioned for an incident sparked by the former's foul on Gutierrez, Ryan Taylor tried his luck again direct from another free-kick. But this time, from fully 35 yards, he struck narrowly over the top.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce made a double change to try and improve his side's fortunes, introducing Craig Gardner and Ji Dong-Won for Richardson and Ahmed Elmohamady, and it gave them a quick boost, with Gardner involved in a move that led to Gyan curling an effort just off target.
Krul was equal to Gardner's looping header with ten minutes remaining, and young striker Connor Wickham was introduced as the hosts' final change of the afternoon as they desperately attempted to salvage something from the contest.
Gyan saw a goalbound half-volley brilliantly blocked by Steven Taylor, before Newcastle made changes of their own to see out the game, bringing on Mike Williamson and Dan Gosling for Yohan Cabaye and Gabriel Obertan.
Sunderland's cause wasn't helped when right-back Bardsley was given a straight red card in the 89th minute for a lunge on Magpies captain Fabricio Coloccini, and Newcastle stood firm for a full five minutes of stoppage time to earn all three points.
Sunderland (4-4-2): Simon Mignolet; Phil Bardsley, Wes Brown, Anton Ferdinand, Kieran Richardson (Craig Gardner 71); Sebastian Larsson (Connor Wickham 81), Lee Cattermole (c), Jack Colback, Ahmed Elmohamady (Ji Dong-Won 71); Stephane Sessegnon, Asamoah Gyan
Subs not used: Kieren Westwood, Titus Bramble, Louis Laing, David Vaughan, Ji Dong-Won
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Ryan Taylor; Cheik Tiote, Joey Barton; Gabriel Obertan (Dan Gosling 85), Yohan Cabaye (Mike Williamson 85), Jonas Gutierrez; Shola Ameobi
Referee: Howard Webb (Rotherham)