SIMON Mignolet admits he thought he had experienced his Thomas Sorensen moment after denying Newcastle United’s master marksman from the penalty spot.
Mignolet’s 82nd minute stop to prevent Magpies top scorer Demba Ba finding an equaliser at the Sports Direct Arena yesterday evoked memories of Sorensen’s penalty save in Sunderland’s last victory on Tyneside in November, 2000, when the Dane famously denied Alan Shearer.
With Sunderland leading 1-0 through Nicklas Bendtner’s spot-kick and the 10-man Black Cats performing defensive heroics to thwart the hosts, it looked like Martin O’Neill’s first taste of a Tyne-Wear tussle would be a successful one.
But derby nemesis Shola Ameobi broke Sunderland hearts with a leveller in stoppage time, his seventh goal against the Wearsiders, leaving keeper Mignolet to reflect on the merits of a single point gained.
Mignolet told the Echo: “Yeah, maybe I thought it was going to be the same as Sorensen because he saved the penalty and Sunderland won the game.
“If we had won, then everybody would have been talking about the penalty save.
“When you see how the game flowed, the way we went in 1-0 in front at half-time and the penalty save, you think it might be your day.
“In the second half, we picked up a quick red card and they got a penalty and you know it’s going to be difficult.
“But every cross that came in, John (O’Shea) and Turns (Michael Turner) won their headers. Unluckily, we conceded one in the end, but with 10 men, it’s not easy.
“Not only those two, the whole back four did well and we defended well as a team.
“I think we dealt with them well all game and obviously we’re a bit disappointed to concede in the last minute.
“But then on the other hand, if you have 10 men and fight as hard as we did, in the end you have to be pleased that you still got a point, rather than losing all three.
“You have to say Newcastle are a decent side and a point against them away from home is not a bad one.”