Sam Allardyce guides Sunderland to derby win over Newcastle
Sam Allardyce became the fourth successive boss to bounce back from an opening defeat to beat arch-rivals Newcastle as Sunderland finally secured their first Barclays Premier League win of the season.
However, he did so in controversial circumstances as the Magpies saw skipper Fabricio Coloccini sent off in first-half injury time for a professional foul seconds after Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole appeared to get away with two offences inside his own box.
Adam Johnson calmly converted from the spot to give the home side the lead with their only meaningful attempt on goal to pave the way for a record sixth successive derby win, which was secured when full-back Billy Jones tapped home a second with 25 minutes remaining and Steven Fletcher added a third at the death for a 3-0 victory.
Magpies boss Steve McClaren, who had seen his side dominate until Coloccini's exit, angrily confronted referee Robert Madley on the pitch at half-time, but it was all to no avail as his hopes of back-to-back league victories went up in smoke with owner Mike Ashley among a crowd of 47,653 at the Stadium of Light.
McClaren's men were utterly dominant before the break without carving out gilt-edged opportunities, and keeper Rob Elliot was not required to make a single save until he had to pick the ball out of his net in injury time.
Coloccini saw a weak third minute volley saved by Costel Pantilimon, who later fielded efforts from Georginio Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko with little difficulty.
However, the Romanian was extended by Black Cats' old boy Jack Colback's 27th minute volley at his near post and Aleksandar Mitrovic fired just wide from the resulting corner before Wijnaldum tested the keeper with a curling 44th minute free-kick.
Sunderland were poor and created little of note, but they forced their way in front in stoppage time at the end of the first half as the game erupted into controversy.
Cattermole was fortunate to escape unpunished after Wijnaldum flicked the ball past him and he blocked it with his right arm before appearing to haul the Dutchman down with his left, but not in the opinion of the referee.
But as Newcastle complained bitterly, the home side broke and Jermain Defoe, a 36th minute replacement for the injured Ola Toivonen, slipped a pass into the feet of Fletcher, who was barged to the ground by Coloccini.
Mr Madley pointed to the spot and issued a red card, and Johnson stepped up to slam the penalty into the bottom corner.
Newcastle should have been back on terms within 10 minutes of the restart when Cattermole turned Ayoze Perez's attempted through-ball into the path of Mitrovic.
The Serbia international stepped inside full-back DeAndre Yedlin, only to drill his shot straight at the advancing Pantilimon.
Fletcher saw a rasping 64th minute effort deflected just over, but the home side extended their lead from the resulting corner when Yann M'Vila's volley was stabbed into the net by Jones.
Johnson was denied a second goal for the afternoon by the crossbar with 18 minutes remaining, but Fletcher rounded things off with a sweet 86th minute volley from Younes Kaboul's pin-point cross at the end of a pacy counter-attack.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Unthinkable that it could be 6 in a row! It's time @NUFC Over to you boys #Geordies #NUFC" - former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) expressed his worst fears ahead of the game but they came true as Sunderland triumphed 3-0 for a sixth derby triumph in a row against the Magpies.
PLAYER RATINGS (Out of 10)
Costel Pantilimon: 8
Billy Jones: 6
John O'Shea: 6
Yones Kaboul: 7
DeAndre Yedlin: 6
Lee Cattermole: 6
Yann M'Vila: 6
Jeremain Lens: 5
Adam Johnson: 7
Ola Toivonen: 3
Steven Fletcher: 8
Jermain Defoe: 7
Sebastian Coates: 7
Sebastian Larsson: 5
Rob Elliot: 5
Daryl Janmaat: 7
Paul Dummett: 5
Chancel Mbemba: 6
Fabricio Coloccini: 5
Jack Colback: 5
Cheick Tiote: 5
Moussa Sissoko: 5
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6
Ayoze Perez: 5
Aleksander Mitrovic: 6
Jamal Lascelles: 5
Vurnon Anita: 5
Florian Thauvin: 5
STAR PLAYER: Steven Fletcher
The Scottish striker has his detractors but relished the full-blooded nature of the fixture. Led the line well, earning the all-important penalty and unleashing a superb volley of his own late on.
Seems the kind of player Sam Allardyce can make good use of and, although he needs to add more goals to his game, this was the perfect place to start.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Sunderland broke in the closing seconds of the first half and Jermain Defoe's measured pass led to Fabricio Coloccini's red card. The course of the game was immediately turned on its head.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH: Steve McClaren barely made his way out of the dugout until Coloccini's sending off but made his feelings on that decision well known to the fourth official. Calmed down sufficiently to drag the Argentinian away when he tried the same.
Sam Allardyce enjoyed the usual derby day triumph afforded to new Sunderland managers and was rewarded for his decision to recall Adam Johnson. The game might have been much different had Toivonen's injury not forced him to give Defoe an early outing from the bench though.
MOAN OF THE MATCH: That old issue of double jeopardy continues to be problematic. Coloccini did appear to barge into Fletcher and left himself open to a penalty. But a red card too? By the letter of the law, the referee probably had little option but it felt like too much. Would a rule change help?
WHO'S UP NEXT?
Newcastle v Stoke (Premier League, Saturday October 31)
Everton v Sunderland (Premier League, Sunday November 1)