Emre hands Toon derby win
By Alex Livie. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Newcastle eased the pressure on under-fire manager Graeme Souness with a pulsating 3-2 North East derby win over Sunderland.
The two sides traded blows like heavyweight boxers, with Liam Lawrence and Stephen Elliot cancelling out an effort from Shola Ameobi and own goal from Stephen Caldwell before Emre netted his first goal in Magpies colours to hand Newcastle fans bragging rights in the North East of England.
Sunderland belied their league position as they more than matched Newcastle for the most part, but it will count for little for manager Mick McCarthy as he is all too aware of the need for an end product.
Dean Whitehead set the tone for the encounter with a crunching tackle on Emre, receiving a caution for his troubles, while the same player had the first effort on goal when lashing a free kick well over the top.
Newcastle settled into their stride the quicker and good play involving Nolberto Solano, making his first start since rejoining The Magpies in August, and Stephen Carr handed Ameobi a presentable headed chance but his effort lacked the venom to test Kelvin Davis.
Turkish schemer Emre did test the handling of Davis on 11 minutes when powering a shot on target that the keeper was pleased to just beat to safety.
Jean-Alain Boumsong glanced a header just wide of target and Charles N'Zogbia fizzed in a dangerous cross which was bravely gathered by Davis as Newcastle pressed Sunderland further back.
Andy Gray had a chance to set the home side back on their heels on 18 minutes, but he failed to collect a chipped pass after ghosting in between static Magpies defenders.
Davis certainly earned his fee in the first half and he produced an excellent save to push Ameobi's low shot around the post.
Alan Shearer's record against Sunderland is not the greatest and he failed to find the target with a couple of efforts in quick succession. Firstly, he curled a shot wide of goal and then his lack of pace was in evidence as, after being played in by Ameobi, he was closed down before delivering a shot on target.
Newcastle found the opening their dominance merited on 33 minutes when Ameobi rose unmarked six yards out to head home an Emre corner.
The St James' faithful had barely returned to their seats when Sunderland drew level, Lawrence flashing a low shot across Shay Given into the far corner.
Two minutes later and Newcastle were back in the ascendancy as Ameobi forced Caldwell to head into his own net, following excellent retrieval play down the left by N'Zogbia.
Sunderland did not wilt after going behind for a second time, as Elliott fired in a goal of the month contender. The forward had criticism ringing in his ears, as he ignored the unmarked Lawrence on the right, when he executed a curling drive from 20 yards which left Given a mere spectator.
The visitors were the sharper out of the blocks after the interval, with Whitehead seeing a shot deflect just wide and Given forced to bail out Boumsong with a fine reaction save after the French defender presented Elliott with the ball ten yards from goal.
Newcastle started the second half on the back foot, but Turkish schemer Emre hauled them ahead with a stunning effort shortly after the hour mark. A free kick 25 yards out could have seen either Shearer or Solano pull rank, but Emre took charge and curled home an exquisite effort that even the excellent Davis could not keep out.
Taylor had the chance to put the game beyond Sunderland when rising high to meet a free kick at the far post, but he was left dumbfounded when Davis produced a superb reflex save with his feet.
Sunderland produced some spirited football in the closing stages and it took a fantastic goal-line clearance from Steven Taylor to keep Newcastle in the ascendancy, while they had a penalty appeal waved away when Lawrence tumbled over the outstretched leg of N'Zogbia.
Substitute the crossbar for Taylor nine minutes from time, as Elliott was denied a leveller by the woodwork after the striker beat Given with a neat lob, and Newcastle held on to claim the spoils in the Tyne-Wear derby.
Click below to rate the players
Newcastle v Sunderland
|Newcastle United||Team Statistics||Sunderland|
|2||1st Half Goals||2|
|7||Shots on Target||3|
|3||Shots off Target||5|
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Bromwich Albion||38||49|
|10||West Ham United||38||46|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||25|