NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew urged his players to use their spirited derby display at Sunderland as a platform to belatedly kickstart their season.
The Magpies defended an early lead with 10 men after Cheick Tiote's dismissal until five minutes from time before finally conceding as Sunderland snatched a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.
While disappointed not to have returned to Tyneside with a victory, Pardew was confident they could use a gutsy performance as a springboard. He said: "What can I take from this game? I can't take any negative at all, all I am taking is positives.
"But we spoke in the dressing room about kicking on now because we have had excuses. We haven't used them, but we have had injuries and suspensions and we have not really moaned about it.
"But we had our full tape today and it showed. Now we have (Club) Brugge and West Brom and we have got to win those games, we have got to win them."
Newcastle couldn't have got off to a better start when Yohan Cabaye fired them ahead with three minutes gone after goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could only block Demba Ba's shot.
But the visitors' task increased in difficulty with 25 minutes gone when Tiote was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Steven Fletcher.
Newcastle coped admirably with everything the Black Cats threw at them with skipper Fabricio Coloccini marshalling his team superbly, but they cracked with 85 minutes gone.
John O'Shea was allowed to meet Sebastian Larsson's deep free- kick with a glancing header which hit Ba and flew past goalkeeper Tim Krul and into the net.
Pardew said: "It would have been one of the greatest victories if we had managed to hold on because 60 minutes is a long time with 10 men.
"But towards the end of the game we just started to tire, we couldn't quite keep the ball as we would have liked and then there were perhaps too many crosses coming in."
Opposite number Martin O'Neill hoped a battling point might prove the catalyst for Sunderland's season, which has seen them win just once in seven Premier League outings after ending the last campaign without a victory in eight.