Ha'way Back When: Sessegnon red card so costly for Sunderland as Newcastle rescue point at the death
Newcastle Utd 1 Sunderland 1 '“ March 4, 2012Sunderland would have taken the derby spoils if they hadn't been reduced to 10 men through Stephane Sessegnon's dismissal, believed defender John O'Shea.
Sessegnon was inconsolable in the away dressing room at the Sports Direct Arena after becoming the third Black Cats player to be dismissed in the last three meetings with the Magpies.
Skipper Lee Cattermole then became the fourth when he was shown a red card by referee Mike Dean following the final whistle.
While Sunderland, particularly O’Shea and central defensive partner Michael Turner, defended heroically after Sessegnon’s 57th-minute sending off, they were barely able to trouble Newcastle at the other end in the closing stages.
Despite Simon Mignolet’s penalty save to deny Demba Ba, the pressure from the hosts ultimately paid off when Shola Ameobi grabbed an injury-time equaliser.
O’Shea said: “If we had kept it to 11 men, we’d have definitely won.
“It was a great performance from the lads. We battled right to the end, but, unfortunately, we just couldn’t hold out for that last couple of minutes.
“Newcastle had us under a lot of pressure, especially when we went down to 10 men.
But we responded quite well and we seemed able to cope with it.
“Unfortunately though, when you’re down to 10 men, you can’t really use the counter-attack as well as we had been doing earlier.
“When Simon saved the penalty, you think it’s going to be your day, but credit to Newcastle, they kept putting the ball in the area.”
Sunderland had by far the best of the opening 45 minutes, making all the running going forward and making the breakthrough with a well-taken Nicklas Bendtner penalty, after Mike Williamson fouled Michael Turner.
Despite the Magpies dominating possession after the break, they struggled to get in behind Sunderland, only to level when Yohan Cabaye’s mis-hit cross made its way through to Ameobi via Mike Williamson’s flick-on.
O’Shea added: “They were quite direct early on in the game and we felt we had them covered.
“We were attacking quite well on the counter-attack, especially in the first half.”
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Santon (Ben Arfa 46), Coloccini, Williamson, Tiote, Cabaye, Cisse (Ameobi 72), Ba, Taylor (Lovenkrands 87), Gutierrez
Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Richardson (Bridge 84), Turner, O’Shea, Cattermole, Larsson (Colback 73), Gardner, Bendtner (Campbell 70), Sessegnon, McClean