Adam Johnson grabs late winner over Newcastle United for Sunderland in Tyne-Wear derby
Newcastle United 0
Man of the match Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson on Sunday night said he must be the most hated man in Newcastle after his late goal condemned Alan Pardew’s United side to a fourth successive derby defeat for the first time in their history.
The Sunderland winger, who had scored during the two previous 3-0 wins against Newcastle at St James’ Park, found the net in the 90th minute to settle a rip-roaring encounter that might have gone either way until his intervention.
It was no more than Gus Poyet’s men deserved after creating the better chances on an afternoon when they collected just their third English Premier League win of the season. “Three years in a row – they must hate me here, but I’m delighted,” Johnson said.
“Three wins here and three clean sheets. We can’t ask for much more.
“I was a bit disappointed as I should have scored earlier on, so if I had missed that one I would have been gutted tonight.
“I took my time and set myself and thankfully it went in.”
Johnson revealed that despite the huge Tyne-Wear rivalry, St James’ Park is one of his favourite grounds.
“It’s a personal favourite of mine, to be honest. It’s a great ground, great atmosphere and we all seem to rise to the occasion here,” said the Englishman, 27.
“[The win] is massive for us. It gives us a great boost and it’s been coming in recent weeks and we did well, but today was the end of some hard work.”
Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson praised Johnson and said he was hopeful the victory would help ignite the team’s season. “I think we’ve created enough to win games but couldn’t find the back of the net. But all credit to Johnno,” the Sweden international said.
“There was no doubt in my mind that he was going to tuck that away. We deserved the win.
“That is the best way to win matches, especially derby matches away from home. We needed a win. Hopefully that will kick our season off and we will push forward.”
Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher was denied by the crossbar just before the break, and Connor Wickham, Jordi Gomez and Johnson all passed up glorious opportunities to open the scoring.
But goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon had to pull off fine second-half saves from Ayoze Perez and Moussa Sissoko as the home side threatened to end their run of defeats before Johnson dashed their hopes in front of a passionate crowd of 52,315.
Sissoko failed to connect with Ameobi’s 67th-minute cross after turning neatly inside his own half and sprinting upfield to play in the wide man, and Adam Armstrong was denied by Pantilimon after Perez and the increasingly influential Sissoko had combined to set him up five minutes later.
Armstrong fired straight at the Romanian goalkeeper once again after creating space for himself 16 minutes from time, and it was then that Pardew chose to send on striker Papiss Cisse for defensive midfielder Cheick Tiote.
The visitors might have gone ahead with 13 minutes remaining when Wickham picked out Johnson and he stepped inside Fabricio Coloccini, only to then stab his shot wide.
But the winger made amends for his misses with seconds of normal time remaining when, having held off Sissoko and remained on his feet to spark a pacy counter-attack, he collected substitute Will Buckley’s lay-off and thumped the ball past helpless Newcastle goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.
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Published: December 21, 2014 04:00 AM