A Demba Ba own goal provided Sunderland with an equaliser in a dramatic Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium Of Light today, which seemed to be a little reward for our possession, if not our actual penetration. Either way, it was 1-1, and we didn't get beat. That's alright by me. Find our thoughts on the first half HERE.
The second half started in exceptionally dull fashion - a mighty shame considering we needed to kick things up a bit to have any hope of getting back into the game, but it appeared for long spells that nothing was going to happen.
In the opening fifteen minutes of the half Tim Krul remained untested, and anything near the box only lead to more panic than composure which could have got us back in the game. Not that Simon Mignolet was being tested either. Demba Ba firing well over the top was the only riposte to Steven Fletcher's wayward header.
On 65 minutes Louis Saha entered the fray to replace Stephane Sessegnon. A positive move, and the one everyone was crying out for, just unfortunately for whatever reason twenty minutes later than it really should have been as Sessegnon had been completely anonymous up to that point. An awful performance from him.
Seb Larsson applied more pressure when a dangerous looking freekick was awarded. In a very similar position to Martin O'Neill's first game against Blackburn Rovers, Larsson tried something very similar. Sadly this time it failed miserably rather than lifting the Stadium Of Light to it's feet.
Minutes later James McClean actually produced something of note when he crossed into the area and saw it spilled by Krul right into the path of Louis Saha... who was out muscled by Fabricio Coloccini. Another potential game-changing moment passed us by.
With so many chances going to waste it would have been "very Sunderland" had Demba Ba finished when put clean through by Yohan Cabaye in the second half with fifteen minutes of normal time left on the clock. A Simon Mignolet foot coming to our rescue to prevent things becoming even worse.
What looked like it would be Sunderland's best chance fell to substitute Louis Saha who couldn't rearrange his feet to get a powerful or controlled connection on Larsson's corner kick.
You'd have been forgiven for thinking that we'd seen the best of our chances come and go by this point, but since it seemed that we couldn't finish, Demba Ba could as he rather kindly diverted John O'Shea's header goal-wards. 1-1. Incredible scenes and perhaps deserved for the amount of time we had the ball, if not what we actually did with it.
With the crowd in full voice Sunderland went in search of an equaliser. The best we could muster was a very close effort form James McClean on his wrong foot near the edge of the area. Krul scrambled, but it was about six inches the wrong side of the post.
Newcastle rather annoyingly managed to see things out and as the final whistle came it was a bit of a relief. All in all, it's questionable as to whether or not we did enough to win the game, and similarly would we have done so without the sending off of Cheik Tiote.
At the end of the day though when all's said and done I really don't care. It was 1-1, and lucky as we were, terrible as we were at times in possession, the Mags couldn't do enough to beat us when we played badly for large parts.