IN the end it was all too inevitable.
A pitiful Newcastle United side shorn of their spine surrendered meekly to their buoyant neighbours.
Magpies boss Alan Pardew, rarely the most gracious of losers, at least had the good manners to label Sunderland the better side.
But there was still a throwaway remark in there which suggested that the outcome might have been different if £20m departure Yohan Cabaye and suspended top scorer Loic Remy had been present.
First of all Cabaye is not a Newcastle United player any more. Period.
So what? Get over it.
Use a supposedly smaller club, Everton, as your inspiration.
They sold their midfield heartbeat, Marouane Fellaini, for £26m in the summer and spent less than half that amount replacing him with Wigan’s James McCarthy.
On Saturday they were forced to do without their version of on-loan Remy, the injured Romelu Lukaku, at home to Aston Villa, a better side than Sunderland (or so the league table indicates), just days after they were walloped by their own neighbours across Stanley Park.
Result? They came from behind to boost their Champions League claims with a gritty 2-1 win.
Yet there was never chance of a similar fightback from Newcastle after Sunderland took the lead following an even opening.
High balls were predicatably humped forwards from the back to the isolated Shola Ameobi.
Even when he won them the sulky Hatem Ben Arfa and unfit Luuk De Jong failed to capitalise on his knockdowns.
Pressure, yes, there was pressure, but few flowing moves or clear-cut chances.
Pardew and his players, including eight full internationals from the start, had fluffed their derby lines yet again.
Cue terrace chants for the manager’s head and unprintable ditties about the owner’s waistline and parentage.
The Mike Ashley question we can return to when there is more time.
Perhaps over the next FA Cup weekend when at least there won’t be a Newcastle game to whinge about.
As for Pardew, that same league table still suggests he is the eighth best manager in the country.
Nor am I too sure that anyone else could do a better job given the financial straight jacket Ashley has the club wrapped up in.
It might never get too much better than mid-table mediocrity.
But it could certainly end up a lot worse.
Look where changing managers and even owners has got Leeds United.
Another event over the weekend also put the derby defeat well and truly into context.
Former Newcastle United and Sunderland player Nigel Walker died at the tragically young age of 54.
Any outrage over Saturday’s defeat pales into insignificance compared to the grief felt by his family and friends.
Everyone associated with Newcastle United need to simply dust themselves down and get on with life.
– GAVIN LEDWITH
Like this drivel? Here’s some spewed forth earlier: