WHERE was the derby won and lost? We look at THREE key areas from the game at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland triumped 1-0 against Newcastle.
1. Sunderland’s complete team effort
ALL eyes before the game were on the anticipated duel between Lee Cattermole and Moussa Sissoko in central midfield.
Even Newcastle boss John Carver had singled out that particular contest as being key and by the final whistle Cattermole had emerged as the clear winner.
But the confrontation did not prove as pivotal as expected, simply because all of Cattermole’s team-mates matched his commitment levels.
The importance of the Black Cats’ skipper was supposed to be in leading by example but he had no need to drive his team-mates on - so up for the game were Sunderland’s players.
That was a fact acknowledged afterwards by boss Dick Advocaat, who was at pains to stress this was about a fantastic team performance, not just about a fantastic winning goal.
And he pointed out in his post-match Press conference that his players were so tired in the dressing room afterwards they could barely move.
They had given their all.
2. Sunderland’s full-backs
BILLY Jones and Patrick van Aanholt maybe contrasting players as full-backs but they were united in excellence in the derby.
With Advocaat opting for three in midfield and three in attack, it was crucial that the Sunderland full-backs both defended well and got forward regularly to support attacks.
Jones, the more natural defender, proved a formidable barrier on the rare occasions Newcastle did get forward, making some key tackles while trying to push upfield at every opportunity.
The more attack-mind van Aanholt was a revelation going forward.
He was as impressive in this game as he had been awful in the last home one, against Aston Villa.
And, shorn of the need to do too much defending against a listless Newcastle attack, he ran the socks off his opponents at every opportunity.
Every time he got the ball he was being positive, and when he didn’t have it, more often than not he was making runs.
3. One moment of world-class finishing
Common wisdom before the game was that this would be a draw. A goalless one at that.
Neither side has been prolific this season. Newcastle’s team-sheet in particular looked devoid of goals, while Sunderland have found wins hard to come by all season with the failure to make and take goals being crucial to that stat.
Though Sunderland’s domination in the game was almost total, where they threatened to struggle was where they had struggled all season – putting the ball in the back of the net.
Cue Jermaine Defoe’s wonder-goal, an awesome volley from range struck with his ‘wrong’ foot.
Niall Quinn, who knows a thing or two about this fixture, described it as the best Sunderland-Newcastle derby goal he had ever seen.
Ultimately, it was the difference between the two sides, Defoe showing how it’s done on a day when Steven Fletcher and Ayoze Perez both had easier chances to score.