Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson the hero as they grab derby draw with Newcastle

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The spoils were shared as Sunderland opened their season with an entertaining 1-1 draw against old rivals Newcastle at the Academy earlier today.

They had to thank their Tynesider goalkeeper Anthony Patterson for keeping them in the game for long periods with a series of outstanding saves.

However, Sunderland persevered and eventually clawed their way back into contention to grab an equaliser from Lee Connelly five minutes from time.

The Wearsiders could have taken an early lead when Ben Kimpioka let fly from 20 yards out but saw his powerful shot crash against the bar with the keeper beaten. Then Connelly anticipated brilliantly to beat the keeper to the ball but chipped just wide of the unguarded goal.

Newcastle hit back and Patterson was forced to make several great saves. It could easily have been 2-2 but somehow the game remained goalless at the break.

The Magpies took the lead just after the interval when captain Matty Longstaff scuffed his close range shot to wrong foot Patterson and saw the ball trickle into the net.

The Wearsiders retaliated with good crosses from the left by Sonny Best and Fergie McAughtrie which just failed to be converted.

The pick of the many superb saves by Patterson came on 75 minutes. Newcastle Thomas Allan had rounded the keeper and was just about to pick his spot into the empty net when Patterson got back to reclaim the ball from the forwards feet.

The save seemed to inspire Sunderland's belief and their commitment was rewarded just before the end when Connelly was through to keep his head and round the keeper to coolly slot home to gain the draw.

Sunderland coach Mark Atkinson said: "It was a mixed, tense game with some scrappy periods but also spells of good football from both sides.

"This is often the case in a derby but we competed well - Patterson was outstanding and sub Irish forward Robbie Dunne made a difference by going more direct when he came on."

Sunderland: Patterson, Howard, McAughtre, Connolly, Hickey, Young, Kimpioka, Hackett (Scothern 81), Connelly, Greenwood (Dunne 60), Best (Leonard 82).

Newcastle: Huuhtanen, Allen, Applin, Longstaff, Cass, Watts, Wilson, Goodridge, Sorensen, Allan, Kasinga.