Onside: Sunderland’s dire derby record

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SO yet again we couldn’t beat those from up the road on our home turf and it seems this is becoming a regular thing.

Apart from that thunderous effort from Kieran Richardson and the sliding finish from Djibril Cisse in 2008, Sunderland have not defeated Newcastle at home since 1980 at Roker Park.

So why, on derby day, does it seem that Sunderland cannot perform?

With the absence of Lee Cattermole in the midfield we lacked the assurance that there would be someone sitting back to help the defence with any break away the Magpies could muster.

That left Jack Colback and Seb Larsson looking unsure of who should go forward and create with Stephane Sessegnon and Steven Fletcher, who cut a lonely figure in the box on numerous occasions.

The only time in the game we did look dangerous, despite having the one-man advantage, was when Craig Gardner moved into the middle of the park (in my opinion his best position) and looked to go forward and break down the tiring Newcastle that, fortunately for Sunderland, had lost the brilliant Collocini.

However, we did not get beat and Newcastle fans should remember that it was only March when we had to survive with 10-men to secure a 1-1 draw away from home.

It had been a brilliant finish to the match for Martin O’Neill’s men, but the Sunderland gaffer was not best pleased with how things had gone off the field.

In my 17 years as a season ticket holder, I have never heard the kind of songs that rang around the stadium.

Both sets of fans were in the wrong after the Sunderland fans sang about Steven Taylor and the chants from Newcastle’s fans about Lee Cattermole.

When the team goes to Stoke City at the weekend there should be confidence that we have still only suffered one defeat this season and are looking reasonably strong at the back.

Danny Rose was the stand out performer against Newcastle and will have a big test against a powerful side.

- Martin Dunn