Ba own goal hands Sunderland draw
Sunderland rescued a 1-1 draw against Newcastle on Sunday as Demba Ba's late own goal cost his team a victory over their bitter rivals in the Tyne-Wear derby.
Martin O'Neill's team had laboured in vain to break down the Newcastle defence despite having the numerical advantage following Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote's 25th-minute dismissal.
Newcastle, who had taken the lead through Yohan Cabaye's early strike, were hanging on for three points at the Stadium of Light until Senegal striker Ba diverted John O'Shea's header into his own net with just four minutes remaining.
Ba's own goal ensured the fourth 1-1 draw in the last six meetings between these two old enemies, but Sunderland, who have beaten Newcastle just once in their last 16 clashes, are still waiting for their first win over the Magpies since 2008.
Despite the late equaliser, Pardew was delighted with Newcastle's spirit and said: "It was a magnificent effort. We said to the players before the game how important it was to the fans, we've now shown how important it is to us.
"Playing an hour with 10 men, if we could have just seen it out it would have been one of the greatest victories ever here. But it's a great point and I'm very proud of my players."
Sunderland defender O'Shea added: "Newcastle work hard on their shape with two banks of four and the big men up front, so it was difficult, but we managed to get the goal.
"It was a great game to be involved in, both (sets of) players wanted to win so much, It was vital not to lose the game."
Newcastle's dominance in these ferocious encounters looked like continuing when French midfielder Cabaye opened the scoring in the third minute.
Hatem Ben Arfa found space down the right and played the ball in to Ba, whose shot from a tight angle was blocked by Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet at his near post.
But Mignolet could only turn the ball into the path of Cabaye and he kept his cool to slot a fine low strike past two defenders into the far corner of the net.
O'Shea made an important block to keep out Ba's volley as Newcastle pushed for a second goal.
However, Sunderland were given a major bost with 25 minutes gone when Ivory Coast midfielder Tiote was sent off.
Referee Martin Atkinson had already blown for a foul on Tiote by Sunderland's Jack Colback, but the Newcastle star carried on running and crashed into Steven Fletcher with his foot raised.
Atkinson deemed the challenge was worthy of a red card and a furious Tiote trudged off while Newcastle's players protested.
Despite going down to 10 men, Newcastle could have doubled their advantage just before halftime when Fabricio Coloccini's shot was blocked and Ba hooked the ball over the bar after controlling the rebound.
Sunderland went close soon after the interval when Fletcher headed across goal from a Sebastian Larsson cross.
James McClean's 64th-minute shot was deflected wide as Sunderland pressed forward, but with Coloccini and Williamson in commanding form at the back, Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul was rarely threatened.
Cabaye and Ben Arfa combined to set up Ba as Newcastle tried to snatch a second goal on the counter but the forward's shot was blocked by O'Shea.
And Ba's frustration was compounded in the 86th minute when O'Shea met Larsson's deep free-kick with a header which hit the striker and flew past Krul to spark wild celebrations from the home fans.