DANNY Simpson branded Sunderland’s dramatic equaliser “fluky” – and admitted the goal left Newcastle United “sickened”.
The two sides drew 1-1 in a tempestuous Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light yesterday.
Newcastle led through Yohan Cabaye’s early goal until the 86th minute, when a John O’Shea header was inadvertently diverted past Tim Krul by Demba Ba.
Cheik Tiote was dismissed in the 25th minute for a reckless challenge on Steven Fletcher.
And Simpson – who had a loan spell at Sunderland earlier in his career – felt 10-man Newcastle deserved more for their efforts, having gamely kept Martin O’Neill’s side at bay for an hour.
It also reminded the 25-year-old of the Wear-Tyne derby two seasons ago which also ended 1-1 after Asamoah Gyan netted deep in injury time.
“I thought we were going to do it,” Simpson told the Gazette.
“It gets to the point in a game when you don’t think you are going to concede. You feel quite comfortable.
“Everybody seems to be doing their jobs and playing together. For them, it had to be something freaky like that. It was a fluky and lucky goal.
“We didn’t feel like they were going to open us up.
We were dealing with what they were throwing at us. It was just a bit sickening.
“I still thought we’d done it – everyone from the subs who came on and worked hard to every player.
“I hope the fans can see that. It was just a sickener the way they did it, but there wasn’t anything we could have done.
“It was deja vu from the last time we were 1-0 up and Gyan scored.”
For all Sunderland’s possession, Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul was relatively untroubled between the posts until Ba’s own goal.
Marshalled by the outstanding Fabricio Coloccini, Alan Pardew’s defence dealt with just about everything the home side threw at them.
“He didn’t have a save to make,” added Simpson. “He was dealing with just crosses and corners.
“We started so well. Our game plan was just to get at them and nick a goal. We did that.
“Obviously, with a sending off and going down to 10 men, it’s going to be tough in the Premier League, even more so against your biggest rivals.”
United’s fans were relocated for the game to the top tier of the North Stand.
But they still made their presence felt as they willed Pardew’s players on.
“It helps hearing them,” added Simpson. “I don’t know how many were there, but you could definitely hear them.
“They were so noisy. With them, you want to keep working hard and keep going.
“Like I said, it was disappointing for everybody connected with Newcastle to gain just a point.
“On the other hand, being down to 10 men, we’ve done well.”