POLICE made 25 arrests during the Easter Sunday Wear-Tyne derby - but have praised the majority of fans for their “impeccable” behaviour.
The 4pm kick-off saw a large police presence at the Stadium of Light, which welcomed a crowd of nearly 50,000 for the eagerly-awaited match.
I’d like to praise supporters from both clubs - they worked well with officers on the ground, were extremely patient and good natured and enjoyed the day in the best sprit.Chief Supt Steve Neill
Two men were arrested for breaching banning orders, three for affray, one for criminal damage, five for being drunk and disorderly, one for assault, one for breach of the peace, three for public order offences, two for possessing alcohol in a sports ground, five for entering the playing field and two for possession of drugs.
Chief Supt Steve Neill said: “The vast majority of fans were great. They represented themselves and their clubs impeccably and enjoyed the derby for the great occasion that it is. “The policing operation went well and I’d like to commend the professionalism of all those involved.
“This was very much a partnership operation and the degree of planning that went into this large scale operation ensured that genuine fans were able to enjoy the game in an atmosphere free of intimidation or violence.
“25 arrests out of crowd of 50,000 is low and I’m pleased that the vast majority of fans who attended today were clearly there to enjoy the football and were not interested in causing trouble.
“I’d like to praise supporters from both clubs - they worked well with officers on the ground, were extremely patient and good natured and enjoyed the day in the best sprit.
“The holdback went very smoothly and supporters worked really well with police and stewards.
“Public safety is always our number one priority during any football match and the few people who chose to pose a threat to public safety were dealt with swiftly by police.”
On the pitch, Sunderland made it five straight wins in the derby clash.
Jermain Defoe’s stunning strike on the stroke of half term secured local bragging rights once more - the one nil victory providing a precious three points to move the club clear of the Premier League trapdoor.
Relegation rivals Burnley’s battling draw with Tottenham meant Sunderland were only out of the bottom three on goal difference ahead of the crunch Easter Sunday clash with Newcastle United.
Anxieties were raised and pulses sent racing when five minutes of stoppage time were announced at the end of the game, but Dick Advocaat’s men comfortably held on to claim a 1-0 win.
For John Carver - in his derby debut in the dugout - it was another bitter pill to swallow.
Newcastle’s long wait for a derby win - stretching back to August 2011 - will go on for another season.
The Stadium of Light was transformed into the Stadium of delight when referee Mike Dean’s whistle finally brought the Wear-Tyne derby to a close.