Sunderland 1 Newcastle United 1

Asamoah Gyan turns away after scoring against Newcastle United. Picture by FRANK REID

Asamoah Gyan turns away after scoring against Newcastle United. Picture by FRANK REID

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ASAMOAH Gyan’s dramatic injury-time leveller spared Sunderland’s derby blushes.

Sunderland were facing a second defeat of the season against the Magpies after Kevin Nolan, who scored a hat-trick in October’s 5-1 loss at St James’s Park, had handed Newcastle a lead early in the second half.

Sunderland players gather round Asamoah Gyan after his goal against Newcastle United. Picture by FRANK REID

Sunderland players gather round Asamoah Gyan after his goal against Newcastle United. Picture by FRANK REID

Steve Bruce’s side had shown few signs of getting back into the game until the fourth minute of stoppage time, when Phil Bardsley’s long-range shot was spilled by Steve Harper and bounced off Gyan into the open net.

Shola Ameobi should have handed the Magpies a dream start but screwed his shot wide after Joey Barton’s through-ball had left him one-on-one with Craig Gordon.

Darren Bent then missed Sunderland’s best opportunity when he sent a half-volley into Steve Harper’s body after getting the better of Fabricio Coloccini.

Sunderland increasingly struggled to deal with Ameobi’s aerial threat and the Magpies’ striker almost broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time, heading Barton’s corner over the top.

But the duo did combine for the opener in the 52nd minute when Ameobi met Barton’s corner at the far post and Nolan flicked it into the net from close range.

Sunderland didn’t look like getting back into the game and became increasingly ragged in their approach play.

But deep in stoppage time Sunderland’s record signing struck to earn a share of the spoils.

For a full match report and reaction, read tomorrow’s Echo.