Sunderland and Newcastle United throw accusations over ‘ref-gate’ during heated Tyne/Wear derby match

Stephane Sessegnon sees red after elbowing Cheick Tiote in the chest. Picture by FRANK REID
Stephane Sessegnon sees red after elbowing Cheick Tiote in the chest. Picture by FRANK REID

CONFUSION and contradictions flew around the Sports Direct Arena Press room yesterday over “Ref-gate” – the suggestion Newcastle’s coaching staff had gone to see referee Mike Dean at half-time.

Martin O’Neill and his players understood that was exactly what had happened and that planted the seed of doubt in their minds about how the referee handled the second half.

But Newcastle were adamant that no such meeting had taken place and that despite the Magpies goalkeeping coach allegedly being sent off at half-time in the tunnel, no attempt was made to seek a meeting with the officials in their room.

Cats boss Martin O’Neill said: “We’re not party to what was said but what I would say is that I think that Newcastle would consider themselves lucky to have 11 men still on the pitch by the final whistle.

“That probably wouldn’t have happened if the referee had continued to referee the game the way he’d started it.”

Read more about a stormy Tyne/Wear derby, plus a full match report, in today’s Sportmail.