SIMON Mignolet hopes Sunderland can draw momentum from a role reversal of March’s derby draw.
It was Sunderland’s turn to salvage a late equaliser against 10 men in the derby yesterday after Demba Ba’s 86th-minute own goal cancelled out Yohan Cabaye’s early opener for the Magpies.
Sunderland experienced the flip side of the coin from the previous meeting between the two sides after Shola Ameobi denied the Black Cats victory on Tyneside last March, when Martin O’Neill’s men had defended heroically following the dismissal of Stephane Sessegnon.
Belgian keeper Mignolet (pictured after the loss of the first goal) told the Echo: “It’s a more positive point than the one when we drew at St James’s last season.
“Then we were the ones conceding at the end, but now it’s us the ones who’ve saved the draw.
“Hopefully we can use that. If you lose against Newcastle, then obviously the lads are going to be disappointed and the confidence will drop.
“But now we can build on the start we’ve made to the season.”
Sunderland fell behind inside three minutes when Cabaye swept the ball into the far corner after Mignolet blocked Shola Ameobi’s effort.
But, despite the dismissal of Cheik Tiote midway through the first half, Sunderland were unable to test Magpies stopper Tim Krul, only for Ba to deflect the ball beyond the Dutchman from Seb Larsson’s free-kick.
Mignolet admits he was beginning to fear the worst as the minutes ticked by, but says Sunderland had to keep their patience against a Newcastle back-line superbly marshalled by Fabricio Colo-ccini.
“In a derby game, you don’t want to go behind that early,” said the 24-year-old.
“But, on the other hand, in the opening 10 minutes, they pressed high up the pitch, did really well and scored a good goal.
“It became a different game when they went down to 10 men and they were well within their rights to put men behind the ball.
“They defended really well, but we got the goal in the end.
“When the clock is ticking down and you get to the 80th minute, you obviously get a bit worried.
“But the lads stuck together and worked really hard. Even Carlos (Cuellar) was getting adventurous in the end.
“We kept our heads and did well to get that equaliser.
“It was a good atmosphere, it always is for a derby game. You have to be up for that as a player and luckily everyone stood up to the task.”