Newcastle 1 Sunderland 1: Black Cats only have themselves to blame plus five other things learned from draw

Fabio Borini is fouled by Jack Colback
Fabio Borini is fouled by Jack Colback
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Sunderland came agonisingly close to making it seven straight wins against Newcastle United.

But nobody could deny Newcastle didn't deserve their 83rd minute equaliser, courtesy of the head of Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Jack Rodwell impressed in central midfield

Jack Rodwell impressed in central midfield

And in the end Sunderland, who had taken the lead through Jermain Defoe's first half volley, ultimately only had themselves to blame at St James's Park.

Here's what we learned from the pulsating 1-1 draw:

Sunderland only have themselves to blame:

This wasn't the nervy, cagey Tyne-Wear derby that many pundits had predicted.

Lamine Kone and Aleksandar Mitrovic battle for the ball

Lamine Kone and Aleksandar Mitrovic battle for the ball

Instead it was pulsating and entertaining but lacking in real quality.

Sunderland were the better side for the best part of an hour, carving out the better chances, before they inexplicably began to sit deeper and deeper inviting pressure onto themselves before they cracked late on.

Allardyce got his starting line-up right - the subs were another matter:

John O'Shea or Younes Kaboul to partner Lamine Kone? In the end, Allardyce stuck with Kaboul and Kone and the pair worked well together - nullifying Mitrovic in the first half.

Yann M'Vila clears the ball off the line

Yann M'Vila clears the ball off the line

Ayoze Perez barely had a kick too.

Plan A was working very well, with Sunderland firmly in charge but as soon as Kaboul went off with a suspected calf injury 72 minutes in, the game plan started falling apart.

Key man Jan Kirchhoff began to tire and Dame N'Doye endured a torrid appearance as a sub. He was at fault for allowing Georginio Wijnaldum to cross for Mitrovic's winner.

Sunderland had got so much right so much of the game but threw it all away late on.

Jan Kirchhoff man of the match but Jack Rodwell impressed alongside:

It was a surprise not to see some key derby veterans involved with O'Shea and Lee Cattermole on the bench and Seb Larsson not even making the squad.

You couldn't argue with Allardyce's pick though as Sunderland were the better side for a good hour, with the midfield trio of Jack Rodwell, Yann M'Vila and Kirchhoff all excelling.

The pressure was on Rodwell, in particular, to perform and he coped admirably in the centre of midfield, carving out an excellent chance which Defoe hit wide.

Rodwell was up to the challenge and he needs to maintain that level for the rest of the season.

Newcastle United's left-hand side a real weakness:

Jack Colback at left-back endured another tough afternoon against his former employers.

Fabio Borini won foul after foul from the former Black Cats midfielder.

He was eventually booked for one foul too many and will now miss their next two games. Moussa Sissoko in front of him was no better, woeful in fact, for most of the game.

Oddly, Sissoko was at his most threatening offensively when he was moved to left-back by Rafa Benitez.

Sunderland worked Newcastle's left-hand side well first half but they couldn't keep that pressure up all game.

Norwich City hold the ace cards in relegation dogfight.

A point didn't really do much side either good.

For Newcastle, it at least put an end to their six-game losing streak against Sunderland and they will look to use the momentum gained from coming from behind late on.

But the power in the fight to avoid the drop lies with Norwich City after their impressive win at West Brom.

The Canaries may have played a game more but both Newcastle and Sunderland have to visit Carrow Road in the coming weeks.

Long two-week breaks not helping Sunderland.

Just one game in 28 days. That is all Sunderland will have played by the time they host West Brom on April 2.

Allardyce's side now face another break from competitive league action due to the international friendlies.

Allardyce was critical of the enforced Premier League break post-match and the long spells between games is not helping his Sunderland side build any momentum.

Throwing away points does nothing to help morale either, with Sunderland doing just that against Crystal Palace, Southampton and now Newcastle in their last three games.