Fabio Borini scored a late winner to seal joy in the Tyne-Wear Derby as Sunderland beat Newcastle United 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats started well with Steven Fletcher’s opener inside five minutes, but Mathieu Debuchy levelled matters in the second half.
Gus Poyet threw on Borini in an attempt to grab a winner and the Italian fired Sunderland to their first win of the season with a goal that took the home side off the bottom of the Premier League table.
Sunderland were boosted by the return of Fletcher from a long-term injury, while Newcastle’s worries before kick-off surrounded their make-shift defence with youngster Paul Dummett drafted in to play a key role in the centre of the back four.
Those issues were compounded when the in-experienced Englishman was overpowered by Sunderland’s veteran striker for the opening goal. Adam Johnson did well from the one-two by Sebastian Larsson and the England winger picked out Fletcher with a superb cross to the back post. Newcastle’s defending was sloppy and the former Burnley man took advantage to nod in and send the Stadium of Light into wild celebrations.
Newcastle struggled to get out of the blocks at the start of the game and Sunderland could have doubled their advantage a minute later. Fletcher let fly with a blistering shot from 20 yards and Krul didn’t palm the ball away from danger, but Jozy Altidore failed to capitalise despite beating a flat-footed Dummett to the rebound.
Sunderland showed an incredible amount of desire in their first half performance as they limited Newcastle to very few opportunities. Hatem Ben Arfa’s free-kick from 25 yards was the Magpies’ lone effort, but the Frenchman sent the set-piece well wide of Kieren Westwood’s goal.
Alan Pardew’s visitors improved immensely in the second half and managed to level the scores in the 57th minute. It was a slack piece of defending from Johnson as he was caught ball-watching and Debuchy raced past him to slot home from Ben Arfa’s cross-shot. It was a goal that could have been avoided for Gus Poyet’s team, but Newcastle had the momentum in their play.
Yohan Cabaye fired not far wide from a good position while up the other end, Larsson should have done better when he curled well over from the edge of the box. Sunderland needed a boost so Poyet turned to his bench and brought on Borini in an attacking position.
The Italian made an immediate impact and could have restored Sunderland’s lead in the 69th minute. He came inside past Phil Bardsley and whipped a shot towards the near post that Krul should have comfortably held, but the Dutch goalkeeper fumbled the ball towards goal before recovering at the last minute.
Pardew turned to regular Sunderland slayer Shola Ameobi and the experienced striker nearly came up with what was needed for Newcastle to win their first derby of the calender year. He picked up the ball from 25 yards and drilled a shot low towards the bottom corner, but Westwood was relieved to see the ball flash past the post.
In the end, it was Poyet and Sunderland who would get the glory thanks to their tricky Italian substitute. Borini took the ball on from Altidore’s poor touch and rifled a shot into the top corner from close to 30 yards past a helpless Krul. It was a stunning goal that will love long in the memory of the Sunderland fans, but it was a bitter blow for Newcastle as they suffered their fourth defeat of the season.