UNLIKELY hero Paul Dummett is dreaming of derby glory after announcing his arrival on the big stage in style.
The 22-year-old Newcastle full-back was pressed into service as an emergency central defender following Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s sending-off against Liverpool on Saturday and responded to the challenge in remarkable fashion.
Not only did the Geordie Welshman play his part in a concerted rearguard action for the 10 men, but the first goal of his senior career in just his third appearance ensured they emerged with a creditable point from a 2-2 draw.
However, even that would be eclipsed if he got the nod for Sunday’s derby trip to arch rivals Sunderland.
Asked what it would mean to him to be involved at the Stadium of Light, Dummett said: “Everything.
“Steven Taylor is the same, and Sammy and Shola Ameobi.
“They all know exactly what it means and for me to play over there – I don’t know what I would do.
“It would be the best feeling in the world, I think.”
That emotion would have to go some way to top what Dummett experienced at St James’s Park on Saturday.
He arrived in inauspicious circumstances in the wake of Yanga-Mbiwa’s unscheduled departure with his side facing a major task.
They had taken a 23rd-minute lead through Yohan Cabaye’s outrageous 30-yard strike, but disaster struck when Yanga-Mbiwa allowed Luis Suarez to get behind him for the first time in the game.
The defender laid a hand on the Uruguay international’s shoulder, he went down and referee Andre Marriner had little choice but to issue the double whammy of a penalty and a red card.
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard dispatched the resulting spot-kick with the minimum of fuss to complete a century of goals in the Barclays Premier League, and the writing appeared to be on the wall for the Magpies.
However, Dummett, who had trained in the first-team the previous day amid fears that Mike Williamson might not make the game, had simply not read the script, and his big moment arrived as Cabaye floated a 57th-minute free-kick to the far post.
His movement put him into space and after the ball had flicked Kolo Toure’s head, he side-footed it confidently past keeper Simon Mignolet to re-establish Newcastle’s lead.
Daniel Sturridge ultimately claimed a point for the visitors with a 72nd-minute header from Suarez’s cross, but even that could not spoil Dummett’s day.
He said: “I was looking at the crowd when I was running away. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know where to look. It was just unbelievable.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Making my debut was obviously something massive, and then scoring the goal to help the team get a 2-2 draw.”
Attention will now turn to Sunday’s derby.
For Dummett (pictured above), there will be an anxious wait to see if he has a role to play, and having previously scored against the Black Cats at Under-18s level, the prospect of doing the same for the senior team is one he admits would top Saturday’s achievement.
He said: “If I scored against Sunderland, I would be a bit worse than I was on Saturday. I think would probably be running around the full pitch and taking my clothes off!”
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Cabaye (Anita 78), Tiote, Gouffran, Sissoko (Dummett 45), Remy, Ben Arfa (Sammy Ameobi 78). Subs not used: Cisse, Elliot, Shola Ameobi, Obertan. Sent Off: Yanga-Mbiwa (40). Booked: Gouffran, Debuchy. Goals: Cabaye 23, Dummett 57.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho (Alberto 63), Johnson (Sterling 83), Henderson, Gerrard, Cissokho, Moses, Sturridge, Suarez. Subs not used: Brad Jones, Agger, Allen, Kelly, Flanagan. Booked: Gerrard, Toure, Sturridge. Goals: Gerrard 42 pen, Sturridge 72.
Att: 51,703 Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).