Three arrested as Sunderland v Middlesbrough ends all square

Sunderland's home game with Middlesbrough passed off peacefully this afternoon.

A Northumbria Police spokesman confirmed there had been just three arrests inside the stadium and no dispersal notices had been issued.

Middlesbrough fans are escorted back to their coaches

Middlesbrough fans are escorted back to their coaches

There was a sizeable police presence around the Stadium of Light as the Black Cats took on their Teesside rivals.

Away fans arrived at St Peter's Metro station and were escorted by officers around to their seats in the away section.

One bar in Holmeside had been designated for away fans but there were no reports of any trouble.

It was an eventful match, which eventually finished honours even.

There was plenty of banter but no real trouble as Boro fans left the Stadium of Light

There was plenty of banter but no real trouble as Boro fans left the Stadium of Light

Sunderland initially took the lead but twice had to come from behind to claim a share of the spoils, with Callum McManaman's strike in the sixth minute of added-on time at the end of the match securing a it 3-3 draw.

A win would have lifted promotion-chasing Boro into the play-off places but it was not to be.

Disappointed fans taunted Sunderland supporters with cries of 'You're going down,' as they left the stadium, but there was no violence and both sets of fans were kept well apart by police.

The performance may have offered some hope to Sunderland but the Black Cats are still rock bottom of the Championship, four points from safety, and the mood among fans was less than optimistic.

Sunderland fans leave the Stadium of Light, having seen their team twice come from behind to claim a point

Sunderland fans leave the Stadium of Light, having seen their team twice come from behind to claim a point

Many walked out when Sunderland conceded for a second time , and there were more empty seats after Boro's third goal went in.

Friends Jay Nelson and Tom Stuart were among those who left early.

"It's terrible - I'm sick of watching it now," said Jay.

"The first half was okay but after the restart, we just switched off - at the start of every second half, we just switch off."

Tom Stuart (left) and Jay Nelson

Tom Stuart (left) and Jay Nelson

Twenty-year-old Jay, from Sunderland, has been a season ticket holder for five seasons but is in two minds about renewing.

"If it looks as they are improving anything soon, then yeas - but not if it stays like this," he said.

Tom, 19, from Seaham, blamed the players for Sunderland conceding twice in a matter of minutes.

"In the first half we played all right, but in the second half none of the player seemed interested," he said.

]"They played like the game was already won."

Even when Sunderland took the lead through Joel Asoro's half strike, he had not been convinced they would get anything out of the game.

Brian Collinson and grandson Franki

Brian Collinson and grandson Franki

"Even when we score the first goal, which we hardly ever do, we don't look like winning," he said.

Brian Collinson, 64, was taking six-year-old grandson Franki to his first game, but the pair left early because of the cold weather.

Brian thought the team might sneak a second equaliser - but thought it would be too little, too lte.

"I think we will get another one back today, but I don't think we will stay up," he said.

Scott Harrison had made the trip from Whitley Bay. He thinks the lack of atmosphere on matchdays is affecting both players and fans.

"It is just apathetic," he said.

"I worry about what is going to happen to the club when we go down."

Scott Harrison

Scott Harrison