Adam Johnson was the man who popped up in the dying minutes of this Tyne-Wear derby and smashed a shot home that turned out to be the winner against his boyhood heroes at St James Park on Sunday.
With a minute of normal time remaining, and just after Moussa Sissoko had seen a goal-bound shot brilliantly saved by Costel Pantilimon, Johnson smashed in a shot that flew past keeper Jak Alnwick and that was enough to ensure Sunderland won their fourth successive game against Newcastle.
Johnson has scored on his last three visits to Newcastle and this goal lifted his side to 14th place in the Premier League with 19 points.
‘We’ve won three years in a row now, they must hate me here, three wins, three clean sheets,’ Johnson told Sky Sports.
|‘We’ve won three years in a row now, they must hate me here, three wins, three clean sheets.’ – Adam Johnson|
‘It’s a personal favourite of mine coming to play here, it’s a great atmosphere and the crowd all seem to rise to the occasion. I missed a chance earlier and I would have been devastated if I’d missed that one at the end.’
There was never going to be any prisioners taken in this game, the cards were out early, two in the first ten minutes.
Sunderland’s Sebastian Coates was the first to be shown a yellow after he put in a foul on Ayoze Perez and that was soon followed up with one for Fabricio Coloccini, who stuck his knee in Connor Wickham’s back.
Sunderland had the better chances in the first half, one of them falling to Wickham when Johnson’s free kick found the striker unmarked at the fair post but he headed wide of the upright.
Then Steven Fletcher was unlucky to hit the bar when he stretched his foot out to volley in a shot from a high ball through from Seb Larsson.
Newcastle didn’t offer much, one of their best chances fell to Perez who curled a shot just beyond the post.
Steven Taylor had to go off for treatment after headbutting the post and while he was off the field Gomez fired an effort over the bar.
Perez brought out a brilliant fingertip save from Pantilimon with a curler and soon after that Sissoko failed to connect when Sammy Ameobi played the ball across goal.
Pantilimon then tipped a Sissoko drive over the bar but from the resulting corner, Sunderland broke away and the move finished with a Buckley ball to Johnson who knocked the back of the net out.