By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At the Stadium of Light
Sunderland 1 (Ba og 85)
Newcastle United 1 (Cabaye 3)
Ten-man Newcastle came within five minutes of another Tyne-Wear derby victory, but it was honours even at the Stadium of Light as they played out a 1-1 draw with Sunderland.
Yohan Cabaye gave the Magpies an early lead when he fired in a loose ball, but they were reduced to ten men midway through the half as Cheick Tiote received his marching orders for a late lunge on Steven Fletcher.
Chances came and went at both ends, and United appeared to have done enough to pick up three Premier League points.
But Sunderland were to get a moment of good fortune as a free-kick was deflected into his own net by Demba Ba with time running out.
The visitors were ahead inside three minutes. A neat move down the right saw the ball slipped into the path of Ba.
The striker fired goalwards from a tight angle, forcing Mignolet into a stop with his legs, but the ball fell into the path of Cabaye, who drilled home to give the Magpies a dream start.
That shocked Sunderland, and it took them until the 17th minute to muster their first attempt - a tame 20-yard Sebastian Larsson that was simple for goalkeeper Tim Krul to claim.
Newcastle hit straight back as Cabaye came within inches of doubling his - and the team's tally - curling a set-piece from distance towards the top corner which was met by an impressive tip-over from Mignolet.
United were dealt a huge blow, however, in the 25th minute when Tiote was handed his marching orders.
Having been fouled by Jack Colback, the midfielder caught Steven Fletcher and after a few seconds of consideration, referee Martin Atkinson pulled out a red card.
Tempers flared and Shola Ameobi was also booked in the resulting melee, protesting against a decision which looked harsh on the Ivorian enforcer.
Despite the sending-off, Newcastle remained comfortable in possession but Sunderland twice went close - first through an Adam Johnson strike, before Gardner drove a low free-kick agonisingly wide of the upright.
And despite trying to shore things up, the Magpies went straight up the other end and almost grabbed a second goal.
A well-worked corner routine saw Cabaye cleverly roll the ball into the path of Fabricio Coloccini on the edge of the area.
Although the captain shanked his strike, it ended up bouncing into the path of Ba, who sent an overhead kick over the top.
The second half started at a ferocious pace, with chances at either end.
Steven Fletcher nodded well wide from Larsson's cross before Ba sent a deflected 20-yard effort into the arms of Mignolet.
From then on though it turned into a scrappy affair. Midway through the half Larsson sent a free-kick off target and that was as good as it got for either side, with defences firmly on top.
In the 71st minute, Sunderland substitute - and former Newcastle loanee - Louis Saha, almost snatched an equaliser.
James McClean's low cross looked comfortable for Krul, but the keeper spilled it, making amends by smothering the loose ball before Saha could pounce.
Ploughing a lone furrow up top due to the Magpies' numerical disadvantage, Ba was working tirelessly with few chances coming his way.
But the Senegal international showed his class on 74 minutes, providing an outstanding first touch to Cabaye's lofted pass and clipping the ball past Mignolet, but unable to get any power or precision before being clattered by the keeper.
Sunderland almost came up with an equaliser with seven minutes remaining as a corner from the left somehow ended up reaching the unmarked Saha at the far post.
But the veteran front man could only direct his volley into the side netting - giving the Magpies a major let-off.
They weren't so fortunate in the 85th minute, however, when Larsson's free-kick in from the right was turned into his own net by Ba, under pressure from John O'Shea.
That earned Sunderland a share of the spoils from an enthralling encounter, and while it was a disappointing outcome for Newcastle, manager Alan Pardew will have been proud of their performance, having played 65 minutes with ten men.
Sunderland (4-4-2): Simon Mignolet; Craig Gardner, Carlos Cuellar, John O'Shea (c), Danny Rose; Adam Johnson (David Vaughan 83), Sebastian Larsson, Jack Colback, James McClean; Stephane Sessegnon (Louis Saha 65), Steven Fletcher
Subs not used: Kieren Westwood, Phil Bardsley, Matt Kilgallon, David Meyler, Fraizer Campbell
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c) (Steven Taylor 79), Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa (Gabriel Obertan 84), Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez; Demba Ba, Shola Ameobi (James Perch 39)
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)
Bookings: Sunderland - none; Newcastle - Ameobi (25), Coloccini (69), Williamson (84), Cabaye (86)
Sendings off: Sunderland - none; Newcastle - Tiote (25)