IF you had asked Newcastle United fans five minutes before the start of Sunday’s derby if they would have taken a draw then the majority would have said yes.
If you had posed the same question five minutes before the end of the game then you would have received a different answer.
Demba Ba’s 86th-minute own goal gave an awful Sunderland side a draw they did not merit.
Having said that, it is not the home team’s fault that Cheik Tiote could not keep his studs to himself.
Was his 25th-minute foul on Steven Fletcher a red card? I’ve certainly seen him get less for worse so I suppose these things even themselves out over time.
Speaking of such matters, many a Sunderland fan in particular has likened Sunday’s outcome to what happened at Newcastle during March’s 1-1 draw.
Then it was Sunderland’s turn to concede a late equaliser after Stephane Sessegnon’s dismissal around the hour mark.
The difference as I see it is that the Black Cats were far more gutted in March as Shola Ameobi’s leveller guaranteed the Magpies a series win over the season.
With this term’s return at St James’s Park in April, Sunday’s deserved point means it is still advantage Tyneside for now.
Turning finally to pantomime villain Steven Taylor’s ill-advised comments that no Sunderland player would get into Newcastle’s team, was he actually correct?
Based on Sunday’s evidence, I would argue that only midfielder Jack Colback and left-back Danny Rose would stand a fighting chance.
The former, however, is originally from Tyneside and the latter, who is on loan from Tottenham, isn’t actually a Sunderland player.
I might be tempted, mind, to swap Danny Simpson at right back for Sunderland’s injured Phil Bardsley as I think he frightens wingers more.
There was one other player, of course, who didn’t start for Newcastle on Sunday who might get the odd run in the side.
That’s right, Taylor himself, who only good enough to make the bench.
- Gavin Ledwith