Sunderland 0-1 Newcastle

Sebastian Larsson and Joey Barton were involved in first-half controversy
Sebastian Larsson and Joey Barton were involved in first-half controversy

Newcastle continue to hold the upper hand in recent Wear-Tyne derbies after Ryan Taylor's goal earned them a narrow win over Sunderland.

The hosts were on top for periods but Joey Barton was denied a goal when his header struck Sebastian Larsson's arm.

It looked like that incident might prove pivotal but Taylor's fine free kick flew straight in on 62 minutes.

Stephane Sessegnon and Asamoah Gyan had chances for Sunderland, while Phil Bardsley was sent off late on.

The Black Cats right-back received his second yellow card for a crude challenge on Fabricio Coloccini a minute from the end, but although the game was keenly-contested it did not boil over.

Victory for Alan Pardew's team means that Newcastle have lost only one of the last 13 league games against their north-east rivals and it was Pardew's first since taking over last season.

The manager will be happy to earn three points during a taxing week following the events against Arsenal last weekend.

Referee Howard Webb may be content, too, that the incident involving Barton did not decide an otherwise tough but entertaining match.

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Pardew delighted with derby win

Sunderland will be angry that they did not get reward for a game which they controlled in large chunks.

Steve Bruce's side set the tempo early on with Sessegnon causing bother by picking the ball up between Newcastle's midfield and defence.

And it wasn't long before the Benin international carved out the first chance, but his fierce shot was tipped over by Tim Krul.

Just as it looked as though a Sunderland goal may come, the tide was stemmed by a moment of controversy on 15 minutes.

From a corner Barton nodded Shola Ameobi's flick towards goal and it struck Larsson's arm just as it was heading for the top of the net.

The Swede did not look like he knew much about it, but replays justified Barton's sense of frustration and despite appeals from Newcastle's players to Webb and his assistant, the end result was a corner.

Yohan Cabaye was perhaps fortunate only to pick up a booking for a dangerous high foot tackle on Bardsley, and several players went into the book as the temperature rose on the pitch.

But Sunderland remained in the ascendancy as Sessegnon again worked Krul and Gyan clipped the top of the bar with a left-foot curler just before half-time.

That left Newcastle looking to break on the counter and target Ameobi from deep corners, and although Cabaye had a swerving shot saved, they made few inroads in the first half.

Sunderland began the second half in quieter fashion and that, along with Ryan Taylor's supreme accuracy swung the game back in favour of the visitors.

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Bruce bemused by Sunderland display

Jonas Gutierrez was brought down for the free-kick which led to Taylor's strike.

From the left the stand-in left-back arrowed his kick into the top right corner, and although Steven Taylor aimed to get a touch on it at the back post, the ball flew straight in to send the Newcastle fans delirious.

Bookings for Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole and Barton followed and the latter had the ball in the back of the net but was rightly ruled for offside.

Further chances came for Gyan and substitute Craig Gardner, who made his Sunderland debut.

But it was a welcome relief that Ryan Taylor's goal proved the difference rather than any moment of controversy.

While Bardsley's sending off was probably deserved, it served as a footnote and capped a frustrating afternoon for Sunderland.

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