Ryan Taylor’s second half free kick was enough for Newcastle United to snatch victory over 10-man Sunderland in the Wear-Tyne derby.
Taylor’s strike came just after the hour mark, catching out goalkeeper Simon Mignolet as the Magpies picked up their first win of the season.
The visitors were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty in the first half, after Joey Barton’s header was blocked on the goal line by the arm of Sebastian Larsson, but making his home debut the Swede survived.
However, Phil Bardsley didn’t escape dismissal, and received a second yellow card for his lunge on Fabricio Coloccini in the closing minutes to cap a miserable day for the Black Cats.
Such was the confidence following their opening day draw with Liverpool, Steve Bruce was able to name an unchanged team for the visit of their north east rivals, who gave a first start to Gabriel Obertan.
The opening minutes were shrouded in controversy and referee Howard Webb failed to spot Larsson’s handball after Barton flicked on Shola Ameobi’s initial header.
With seemingly a second life, Sunderland were keen to get on the front foot with Stephane Sessegnon and Asamoah Gyan both at the heart of the hosts’ early dominance, the latter clipping the bar in the twilight of the first half.
The game’s winning goal came after 62 minutes, when Taylor, filling it at left back due to the sale of Jose Enrique, curled a free kick beyond goalkeeper Mignolet, with the Belgian left scrambling helplessly across his goal.
Taylor’s effort took the life out of Bruce’s men and Dan Gosling could have doubled Newcastle’s lead late on, but saw his effort smothered by Mignolet.
Bardsley’s late dismissal rubbed salt in the wound for Sunderland, as their local rivals calmly saw out their opening win of the season.
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